Real life: Best foot for­ward

Bless­ing Woifo from Cape Town is a happy one-year-old who re­cently started to stand. De­spite be­ing born with club­foot, he is well on his way to walk­ing, all thanks to the Pon­seti method of cast­ing, writes Lynn Wil­liams

Your Baby & Toddler - - News -

WHEN BLESS­ING WAS BORN, his par­ents – Flore and Sim­plice – were dev­as­tated to learn that he had been born with club­foot.

Flore was es­pe­cially sad be­cause their first­born, Nelson, had also been born with the same birth de­fect eight years ago in Cameroon. The last thing she wanted was for her sec­ond child to have the same birth de­fect.

Flore says the first eight months of Nelson’s life were stress­ful. The cou­ple and their baby had to en­dure stares and were ridiculed by peo­ple in their vil­lage in Cameroon. “Some peo­ple told me to just make peace with it, be­cause it was God’s will and that Nelson would never walk.”

De­spite this, she still sought help for Nelson. Un­suc­cess­ful treat­ments in­cluded casts that re­peat­edly fell off and reg­u­lar mas­sages with a phys­i­cal ther­a­pist. Nelson cried all the time and noth­ing helped.

Sim­plice gave up his job to help Flore take care of Nelson and to make sure that he went for reg­u­lar treat­ment. When they moved back to her mother’s vil­lage they tried tra­di­tional medicine and splints were put on his legs to push his feet back into po­si­tion. “This was so painful for him. All the casts and splints had dam­aged his feet,” says Flore.

When Nelson was eight months old, Flore was ready to give up, but then she heard about the Pon­seti method. “After just four casts Nelson’s feet were straight and they put him into boots. He can now walk well, al­though he has a prob­lem with one foot.”

When Nelson was 18 months old Flore moved to South Africa to pur­sue her stud­ies, but when her plans fell through she turned her sights on be­com­ing an en­tre­pre­neur. She now sells mer­chan­dise from her stand on the Grand Pa­rade.

On 15 Septem­ber 2016, lit­tle Bless­ing was born at the Som­er­set Hos­pi­tal in Cape Town, via an emer­gency cae­sar­ian de­liv­ery. The first thing Flore asked Sim­plice was whether his feet were okay. “I just did not want to go through it again. I was scared,” Flore ad­mits.

Sim­plice told Flore that Bless­ing’s feet were fine and wrapped him in a blan­ket. A few hours later he had to come clean and in­formed her that their sec­ond child

AFTER JUST FOUR CASTS NELSON’S FEET WERE STRAIGHT AND THEY PUT HIM INTO BOOTS. HE CAN NOW WALK WELL, AL­THOUGH HE HAS A PROB­LEM WITH ONE FOOT

also had club­foot.

This time around a doc­tor came in to see the cou­ple to dis­cuss their son’s con­di­tion. She told them not to worry and set up an ap­point­ment for Bless­ing at Steps Club­foot Care. He vis­ited the clinic for his first ap­point­ment when he was a month old.

“It was such a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence this time around. I don’t re­call ever feel­ing stressed. His feet were straight within a few weeks and he sleeps in his boots and bar at night.

“The doc­tors and the par­ent ad­vis­ers at Steps are amaz­ing. They ex­plained the whole process and gave us plenty of in­for­ma­tion. We knew ex­actly what to ex­pect,” Flore says.

Flore said the help she re­ceived at Steps gave her the courage to be a source of strength to an­other new mom who was wor­ried and did not know what to ex­pect at the time.

“Steps not only changed Bless­ing’s life for the bet­ter, but it gave us as par­ents huge peace of mind.

“Bless­ing is a happy and healthy boy who will be walk­ing in no time!” Flore says. YB

Happy fam­ily: Sim­plice Woifo and his wife, Flore, with one-year-old Bless­ing

Win­ning team: The Steps team is com­mit­ted to mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the lives of chil­dren born with club­foot

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