Treating Congenital Orthopedic Conditions to Prevent Permanent Disability

Challenge

Many years of armed conflict and a long history of economic inequality has left vulnerable populations in Colombia with insufficient access to medical care. As a result, common congenital orthopedic conditions, such as clubfoot and hip dysplasia, are untreated. The result can be permanent disability and a range of physical, social, and economic problems.

Where We Started

A Boston Children’s orthopedic team led by Brian Snyder, MD, PhD, joined forces with Healing the Children, a volunteer, nonprofit organization that provides health care to Latin American children and those in other developing countries. Global Health Nursing Fellow Michael Felber, RN, joined the team in 2016 with the goal of improving post-operative nursing care for pediatric orthopedic patients.

Our Impact

Working alongside Colombian orthopedic surgeons, nurses, and a team of volunteers, Boston Children’s orthopedic experts have treated many children in Huila, which has over one million people served by a single public hospital. Collin May, MD, a pediatric foot and limb deformity specialist at Boston Children’s, engaged local community health providers to begin screening children for clubfoot and hip dysplasia to improve early detection and treatment. The team presents an annual symposium on pediatric orthopedic care for Colombian health care providers and students at the University of Southern Colombia (Universidad SurColombia). A registry that was created to track surgical outcomes has improved follow-up care. As a focus to his fellowship, Michael Felber has recruited additional nurses from Boston Children’s to the team. These nurses have worked with their Colombian colleagues to provide safe post-operative care and pain control for both day and night shifts and have improved patient and family education. The team is working with their colleagues in Colombia to train and support pediatricians in clubfoot treatment using the Ponseti method.

You Can Make a Difference

With your support, we can help prevent permanent disability by expanding treatment for children with congenital conditions in low-resource countries with limited access to specialized surgical care.