Dr Hossain is a physiotherapist at our Walk for Life clinics in Bangladesh, where he helps kids overcome clubfoot so they can walk, run and play.
This hard-working physio oversees three clinics in Gazipur, Narsingdi and Tangail Districts, which treat over 1,000 patients. The clinics are spread out so that parents don’t have to travel more than 60km to access treatment. This means Dr Hossain has to travel between all three, but it’s worth the time on the road.
A career change
Before joining Walk for Life, Dr Hossain specialised in treating back pain. But when he learned that 98 per cent of children with clubfoot can be cured if they adhere to treatment, he sought a career change.
“No other disease has the same correction or cure rate,” said Dr Hossain. “That’s why I decided to switch to exclusively working on clubfoot.”
Clubfoot is a congenital birth defect that causes children to be born with one or both feet turned inward. Walk for Life not only treats children for free, but also trains doctors and physios in the Ponseti method, a technique that uses gentle manipulation and casting to bring feet into the correct alignment.
Treating the whole family
A lack of education and awareness about clubfoot means that mothers are often blamed for their child’s condition.
At first, Dr Hossain found it hard to hear the stories of mothers when they visited the clinic. They cried when describing how they were treated by their families and communities.
But after just three or four months of treatment using the Ponseti method, the mothers began to return with smiles. They were no longer facing shame and stigma at home because of the improvement in their children’s health.
“I feel blessed to be a physiotherapist,” Dr Hossain says. “When I see a child who has completed the clubfoot treatment process and the smiling face of the family, it makes me feel proud to be a Ponseti practitioner.
“After treating a child for four years, seeing that child walking, playing and going to school makes me the happiest person.”
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Sustainable Development Goals
This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).