Noy’s family live in a remote part of Laos. She was treated for clubfoot by CBM partner ‘Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE)’, and now her family is looking forward to the future with optimism.
Noy is a four year old girl from Laos. She lives in a very remote area with her mum, dad and brother. Ever since Noy was born she has had a condition called clubfoot, which causes the feet to twist inwards.
As she grew and started to try to learn to walk this caused great difficulties for her. Noy’s whole future was uncertain – would she ever be able to walk without pain? Would she be able to attend school? How would she get to school in a place with almost no public transport if she could not walk long distances and would her classmates accept her? In the future how would she work to earn a living and would she ever get married?
Noy’s mum and dad worried about her and about her future. They tried to find treatment for her at the local hospital but the doctors there were not trained in how to treat clubfoot. They told Noy’s parents, “We can’t treat her here – we don’t know how”.
Noy’s parents almost gave up on finding a treatment for her but one day her mother heard from a friend that her child also had clubfoot and that she had found a treatment for it! This was at a rehabilitation centre local to them run by a local NGO called Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE), supported by CBM.
Noy and her parents travelled to the rehabilitation centre where she got some good news – her clubfoot could be treated using a technique called the Ponseti method! However, she would have to travel to Vientiane, the capital city, as she was now four years old and the staff at the local centre were only able to treat younger children.
The whole family travelled for over six hours on a bus to reach the national rehabilitation centre run by COPE. Fortunately they could stay in an accommodation there while Noy had her treatment.
The staff at COPE were very kind and also very good at treating clubfoot – straight away they applied casts to Noy’s legs – she would wear these for several weeks, having them changed every week. She would then need a small surgery to release the tendon at the back of her ankle and then would have to wear braces at night to hold her feet in a corrected position.
The staff told her that in a few months her feet would be fully restored to their normal position and that she would be able to walk, run and play with her friends!
Noy’s family had to sacrifice a lot for her treatment as her dad was not able to earn the daily income he usually earned as a labourer while they stayed in Vientiane. But it was worth it for them knowing that Noy would grow up from now on with fully corrected feet and able to do everything that her friends were able to do.