Club Foot Early Intervention

ClubfootThe Early Childhood Medical Intervention Program seeks to change the lives of children in Cambodia by giving them the best chance to be happy and productive through early identification and treatment of Clubfoot. The Clubfoot program builds on activities already commenced that have been successful in training and supporting local medical staff in provincial hospitals in the non-surgical treatment of clubfoot in children – using the PONSETI method.

Key to the success of this Programs is the need to raise awareness within the local population, particularly in rural and provincial areas, that these ailments can and should be treated early. This program seeks to provide local medical practitioners with the skills to identify and provide early treatment. The program is led by Dr Vuthy Chhoeurn, Head of Surgery at the National Pediatric Hospital in Phnom Penh. This will ensure the program is culturally sustainable and integrated with existing hospital services across the country.

1292 patients (most of them children under 2 years old) were treated under the program in the period before NextSteps became involved in December 2014. In 2015 with support from NextSteps and CBM International, 657 newborn and very young children with clubfoot were treated as new and follow-up patients.

Surgical Missions to remote and rural communities in Cambodia

Pre-Operative Waiting Room
Pre-Operative Waiting Room

In 2010 NextSteps predecessor charity, Connecting with Cambodia, commenced funding outreach surgical missions to various locations in Cambodia. The missions provide surgical treatment to disabled children and to patients with congenital deformity and contractures (cleft lip-palate, plastic and reconstructive, orthopaedic and general pediatric surgeries), where surgical access is not possible due to their location and limited incomes. The missions also provide training and support for local medical staff.

The outreach missions are led by Dr Vuthy Chhoeurn, Head of Surgery at the National Pediatric Hospital and his team of Surgeons, Anesthetists and Nurses from Phnom Penh. Visiting international medical practitioners and support staff sometimes also volunteer their time and skills. The missions are conducted over four days, with staff and equipment loaded into a bus at Phnom Penh with patient triage, clinical consultation and screening commencing on arrival. The local community are informed in advance and congregate at the local hospital waiting for the team’s arrival.

The first mission was to Kratie referral hospital December 11-14, 2011 with 171 patient consultations and 49 surgical operations. The second mission was to Kampot referral hospital December 26 to 29, 2012 with 182 patient consultations and 32 surgical operations. The third mission was to Stung Treng referral hospital June 11-14, 2014 with 198 patient consultations and 61 surgical operations. The fourth mission, supported by GECKO, Kinderhilfe Südostasien e.V, Germany was to Preah Vihear referral hospital June 11-14, 2015 with 126 patient consultations and 52 surgical operations.

Parents and patients who benefited from the surgical mission.
Parents and patients who benefited from the surgical mission.

Peri-Operative Support for Children born with Cleft Palate

TeatThe National Pediatric Hospital in Phnom Penh has limited staff and resources. Parents often bring their children long distances to seek treatment. From time to time NextSteps provides funds for the purchase of equipment for patients who cannot otherwise afford it. Feeding is an issue for cleft-lip and palate babies and from 2014 Connecting with Cambodia commenced funding the purchase of bottles with molded teats for the families of such children.