Fortunate Munetsi found out that her son Divine had clubfoot when he was born in Zimbabwe in 2014.
Fortunate says, “I had never heard of such a thing and knew absolutely nothing about clubfoot. It looked very painful and I thought my son would be disabled for life. Divine started treatment at two days old. He continued with casting until he was 18 months old. I lost count of how many casts my son got. They were using students to cast, and my son had many blisters or the cast would often fall off within a couple of days. There were many delays with casting for various reasons. It was hard. He had two tenotomies in Zimbabwe and then he started wearing a clubfoot brace.”
When Fortunate came to South Africa to work, she left Divine in the care of her husband and her mother.
“They stopped putting the clubfoot brace on Divine as we had been told to do.” Fortunate says, “I saw photos of my son’s foot on video calls and I was very sad. So I went back to Zimbabwe in 2020 to collect Divine and bring him to Cape Town to have more treatment and to make sure he wore the clubfoot brace. It is my responsibility as a mother to ensure that my son’s feet have the best chance.”
“When I returned to Cape Town I searched on the internet about clubfoot and found out about Steps. I phoned the number on the Steps website and spoke to Gaby Rademeyer, she introduced me to Jane Mackinnon, a Steps clinic coordinator,and Jane told me to come to the Tygerberg clubfoot clinic that following Thursday in November 2020.
Jane told me that the medical team at the clinic would do their best to help and correct my son’s feet. I felt very welcome when I arrived at the clinic.
Divine’s right foot was really bad when we restarted treatment. It was like it was when he was born, he could not walk properly and kept on tripping. He has had 6 casts now, and I can’t believe the difference. Every time I take the cast off his foot position has improved.
I feel very supported at the Tygerberg clinic. I am so happy that I came to Cape Town and did not give up on my son. The doctor told me that he will have to have 3 or so more casts and then he will get a tenotomy. After that his foot will be corrected.
At first I was told that the doctors were not sure how long Divine’s foot would take to correct because he is six years old, and the older the child, the longer and more difficult the foot takes to correct. But he has responded so well to the treatment. As a mother I am very happy with his progress ,and so is the clubfoot team at Tygerberg
My advice to parents with a baby born with clubfoot is to not give up on your children, or when they grow up they will blame their parents for not making sure their feet got fixed. Do not ignore the situation, and listen to the doctors.