Ibrahim’s Fixed Feet
We met 1-year-old baby Ibrahim last August, at one of the first Mercy Ships screenings in Guinea. Ibrahim’s mischievous grin was the first thing screening volunteers noticed – but once he begins trying to walk, his clubfeet were evident.
Without treatment, Ibrahim faced a lifetime of limited mobility, a future defined by his inability to walk. His mother, Salimatou, tried to find a way to get her son the surgical intervention he so desperately needed, but no one in Conakry, Guinea was able to treat Ibrahim’s condition.
Then, the Africa Mercy sailed into the port of Conakry, and Salimatou brought Ibrahim to meet Mercy Ships volunteers. Soon Ibrahim was admitted into the Ponseti Program, and began the treatment that would fix his feet – and his future.
The Ponseti Method is a treatment for clubfoot that does not require an invasive operation, making it ideal for babies like Ibrahim in developing countries that lack surgical infrastructure.
After being admitted, Ibrahim’s treatment was several months long. Beginning with 7 weeks of weekly foot manipulation and casting, in October he had his tenotomy (a small surgical procedure to cut the Achilles tendon, simple enough to do at a clinic). After his tenotomy, there was 3 more weeks of casts. Then, he was fitted for foot braces, which he will wear for 23 hours a day for 3 months, then every night until he is 5 years old to prevent his feet from returning to the clubbed foot position (the braces are similar wearing retainers after braces on teeth!).
Today, Ibrahim has almost completed the Ponseti Pogram, returning to the Africa Mercy for final checkups to make sure his feet will be fully healed before the ship departs later this year.
In the next month, Ibrahim’s feet will be fixed, thanks to generous donors and Mercy Partners, whose monthly support helps us provide the long-term care that children like Ibrahim so desperately need.
Written By: Andrea Gilbert