Seven-year-old Elia lives in Tanzania with his parents and seven siblings. “He very much enjoys playing football even though he cannot run very quickly,” says our medical partner African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). That is because Elia was born with congenital bilateral clubfoot, which caused both of his feet to grow inward and with very high arches.
Elia has done his best to live a normal childhood despite having this condition. “He started class one, but he had to quit school because it was difficult for him to walk the long distance to school,” says AMHF. If not properly treated, Elia will continue to have difficulty walking and he will also be at risk of developing early osteoarthritis.
“Due to the severity of his condition, doctors saw it was best for his feet to be treated one at a time,” AMHF continues. “His right foot was successfully corrected and he now needs the left foot to be corrected as well.”
Unfortunately, funding this second operation has been difficult for Elia’s family. His parents are small scale farmers, but their small earnings are barely enough to support their large family–let alone a surgery.
$1,660 will fund the treatment Elia needs. These funds will cover the costs of his operation where doctors will surgically release the overly tight tendons in his left foot that are causing it to turn inward. Then his foot and ankle joints can be re-aligned, and casts will hold them in place while they heal. To ensure that these casts are properly cared for, Elia will also receive rehabilitation care for about four months.
After recovering from his procedure, Elia will have a better gait and reduce his risk for developing osteoarthritis at an early age. “When I can walk properly I will be happy to go back to school,” Elia shares.