Born in November 2017, little Pardon Mazorodze lives in Plastic View, an informal settlement in Marabastad, Pretoria.
At three years old, Pardon was living with untreated clubfoot and facing a life of disability, until Steps Clubfoot Care arranged for him to be treated at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.
This story is a testament to a mother’s determination and the teamwork that made it possible for Pardon to have the life-changing treatment he needed to correct his bilateral clubfoot.
Karen Mara Moss of Steps received a message at the end of 2020 from Megan who was volunteering at Woodlane Clinic. Megan was desperate to find help for Pardon, as although he was born in South Africa, his Zimbabwean parents had not managed to get documents for him. There are many children like Pardon living off the grid in South African informal settlements with no papers, which makes accessing treatment very challenging.
Karen reached out to her network of doctors and partner clinics, and despite the massive backlog because of COVID-19 restrictions, the clubfoot clinic team at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto offered to treat him. This was an opportunity not to be missed, and together with the Woodlane Clinic staff, Steps worked out Pardon’s treatment plan.
“Pardon started treatment when he was three years old and walking on the sides of his feet.” Sarafina Mazorodze says, “When he was born, I had no clue what was going on with his feet, I thought it was some sort of deformity that can’t be fixed. Then one day at the local clinic, I took him for his routine vaccination as usual, and while there I was approached by a healthcare worker who asked about Pardon’s condition. She told me it can be treated and she put me in touch with an NPO that put me in touch with Steps”.
With the support of Woodlane Clinic and Steps Clubfoot Care, Sarafina and Pardon arrived for his first casting appointment at the Bara clubfoot clinic in January 2021. It’s a trip that takes them three taxis and three to four hours travel time each way. Ursula Kibido, the Steps clubfoot clinic coordinator at Bara, was there to meet them and reassure them about what lay ahead.
Pardon has been making the long trip to the clinic with his mother every week and their determination is paying off as his feet have improved tremendously. Sarafina is overjoyed at his progress.
“Never sit at home with a child whose condition you do not know. Go to the hospital and seek help, there is help out there. If Pardon’s clubfoot could be treated, believe me clubfoot is treatable, and there is no greater joy than knowing my child will be able to walk and run like other children.”
Having a child with a birth defect can feel isolating and very scary at first because parents don’t know what to expect. Steps focuses on patient-centred care and parent support to make it less overwhelming.
“Ohhhh man, I can say so much about Steps and the people here at Bara Hospital’s clubfoot clinic” Sarafina says. “Steps made it so much easier for us to come weekly for treatment. Talking to them and asking questions is not intimidating as hospital visits sometimes are. Pardon loves it here. You know he comes running through the clinic, leaving me behind, to come and greet all of the staff and his friends at the clinic. Clinic visits feel like being home away from home. Thank you so much for taking care of my child and making me feel so important everytime I come here.”