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04 March 2019

Specialist surgeons from Gauteng to help 200 Limpopo babies

Although a clubfoot is not painful, if left untreated it may lead to permanent disability.

Over 200 babies born with clubfeet will receive the operations they need to learn to walk properly thanks to the intervention of specialist orthopaedic surgeons from Gauteng.

The shortage of specialists in Limpopo prompted Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba to ask surgeons from Gauteng for help.

A special intervention

A clubfoot is a congenital condition that causes a baby’s foot to turn inward or downward. The condition can be mild or severe, and occur in one or both feet. Although a clubfoot is not painful, if it is not treated it can make it hard for a child to walk without a limp. If left untreated, a clubfoot often leads to permanent disability.

Limpopo currently does not have specialist orthopaedic surgeons able to perform the operation to correct a clubfoot and so babies born with the condition are generally referred to George Mukhari Hospital in Gauteng.

But now, in a special intervention, the specialist surgeons from George Mukhari Hospital are visiting Limpopo in order to conduct a series of operations on over 200 babies. They are hoping to be done with all the surgeries by the end of this week.

New skills

The operations are being done at the Pietersburg hospital in Polokwane. Ramathuba said that the project will clear the backlog of clubfoot surgeries in the province, and at the same time local doctors and nurses will learn new skills on how to manage and care for clubfoot patients.

Health Department spokesperson Neil Shikwambani said, "The project will go a long way in imparting skills to our health officials on how to deal with patients born with clubfeet."

Last year after doctors stationed at Letaba Hospital were attacked by criminals. Ramathuba said that she was worried the attacks would negatively impact on her plan to persuade specialists to come and work in Limpopo hospitals.

“The operations have already started and we are confident that all the surgeries will be done by the end of the weekend,” said Shikwambani. -Health-e News.

Image credit: iStock

 
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