Anthrologica - Anthropology of Global Health

National Clubfoot Programme


Clubfoot is one of the most visible deformities seen in sub-Saharan Africa. The Malawi National Clubfoot Programme (MNCP) was launched in 2007. Its aim is to ensure that all children born in Malawi are treated appropriately using the Ponseti Method (of manipulation casting) and it thereby seeks to eradicate cases of untreated clubfoot within ten years.

Anthrologica undertook a qualitative study to: determine new empirical data on the perspectives of clubfoot and its treatment in Malawi, amongst patients and their guardians; and to make recommendations to improve and develop the services of the MNCP. The objective was to find ways in which the perceptions of patients and guardians could be meaningfully integrated into the biomedical framework of the MNCP to make it increasingly relevant and appropriate for the intended beneficiaries, and therefore advance the Programme towards its overall goal.

There had been no systematic analysis of lay perceptions of clubfoot in Malawi prior to this research. The project therefore made a significant contribution to our understanding of clubfoot and disability in Malawi and the wider African context.

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