July 22, 2020

Every year in Mexico, over 3,000 children are born with clubfoot. Clubfoot is treatable with Ponseti Method, a non-surgical technique using gentle manipulations of the foot, followed by the application of 4 to 6 weekly casts. The Rotary Foundation sponsors a global grant to support Ponseti Method training of 29 orthopedists throughout Mexico.

This Project began with a connection between D-5970 (then) DGE Jozif Gitta and a Cedar Valley (Iowa) Rotary Club member with familial ties to Mexico along with the Ponseti International Association (PIA) based at the University of Iowa. For the Cedar Valley Rotary Club, writing a grant proposal was a new experience and so it was through the mentorship of PIA that Global Grant GG1638227 was written.

One goal of the grant is to train 29 orthopedists affiliated with public hospitals from various cities/states of Mexico, in the Ponseti Method, and then the newly trained orthopedist establishes a Ponseti clubfoot treatment clinic at their hospital. Challenges included establishing a base in Mexico, changing leadership both in the Iowa and Mexican Rotary Clubs/Districts, and fluctuating monetary exchange rates. The grant, originally approved in 2017 is now scheduled to conclude in April 2020 .

The proposal outlined a train-the-trainer model enlisting orthopedic professors previously trained in Ponseti Method, who would serve as trainers/mentors to 2-3 trained orthopedists. These “trainers” would support, guide, and provide feedback regarding how to establish a clinic and how to upload data of treated patients into the International Clubfoot Registry (ICR), as well as make observations and suggestions about the manipulation technique and casting.

Dates and locations of trainings:

  • November 2017 Maternal and Child Regional Hospital in Monterrey, Nuevo León (15 trainers trained)
  • December 2017 Maternal and Child Regional Hospital in Monterrey, Nuevo León (11 orthopedists trained)
  • September 2019 The Shriners Hospital for Children, Mexico City (10 orthopedists trained)
  • January 2020 Hospital Regional Marterno Infantil in Monterrey, Nuevo León (14 professors trained)
  • A planned April 2020 training has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The end result of this Project is the expansion of the number of orthopedists, across Mexico properly applying the Ponseti Method to treat clubfoot in their clinics. Already over 200 children have received this life changing treatment. This is just the beginning of a sustainable plan to make the Ponseti Method the main treatment in this region. Global grant GG1638227 has proven to be a good investment in the well-being of the children of Mexico.