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Group raises alarm on disturbing increase in paediatric foot injuries

A collaborative study carried out by The CARROT Co. and doctors from the Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi has called on stakeholders to prioritise tackling paediatric foot injuries.

The study, which was fully supported by Canadian-based The Sandbox Project, found that 3 or 4 out of every 100 children die of a motor vehicle accident in Ghana.

Males between the ages of 5 and 9 are at a higher risk of having foot injuries and even end up having their limbs amputated than their female counterparts.

A stakeholders review meeting was held at the Ange Hill Hotel on Thursday, June 20, to present the findings of the study.

Consultant and Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Dr Vincent Ativor bemoaned the financial strain and difficulties hindering the Ghanaian population from accessing the needed care for paediatric foot injuries.

Dr. Ativor indicated that the study was commissioned to help find solutions to paediatric foot injuries to ultimately prevent amputations.

“The project is on looking at paediatric fractures or paediatric musculoskeletal injuries. We know that children are vulnerable and they get injured easily as compared to adults. They play around, they run across major roads and get knocked down by vehicles. They climb objects and fall and they get hurt through playing sports.

“And we have seen that there has been an increasing trend of children involved in injuries and most importantly, foot and ankle injuries which are very severe with some of them resulting in amputation of the limbs or severe disabilities that limit children in playing and doing other activities. We had to strategise to see how we can address some challenges that we have identified during our study to evaluate the pattern of injury and also the incidence of injuries affecting the foot.”

Dr. Ativor advised that wearing the appropriate footwear at the time of an accident reduces the risk of foot avulsion fractures by 49 percent and must therefore be encouraged among the population to reduce fractures and infections.

The Executive Director of The CARROT Co., Taye Balogun, expressed gratitude to The Sandbox Project for its immense support in making the study a reality.

Taye also disclosed that the project has been running for the last three years and bemoaned the trauma parents go through having to see their children have one or both limbs amputated.

“The Sandbox Project is an initiative by Dr. K. Kellie Leitch who is an experienced Orthopedic doctor and we partnered with them because some Ghanaian doctors had gone to study in Canada and researched the paediatric foot injuries situation in Ghana and it was very alarming so we decided not to let it go under the carpet and needed to make the people aware and that was when we decided to find ways of engaging the public on the issue.

“We have been on this project for three years and I have been to the hospital, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) and I have been in the theatre with the surgeon and he operated about 10 people in 9 hours. I saw parents whose children walked into the hospital with two legs and came out with one and that is devastating and it becomes an obligation for some form of action to be taken.”

Participants from basic schools, youth-led organisations, civil society, and the media at the meeting were taken through group discussions and assignments, and they pledged their support to advocate for the prevention of paediatric foot injuries.

The CARROT Co. is a collective of pan-African artists, scholars and practitioners, working solely to support the development sector with creative communication bridging the gap between the mass population and policymakers. CARROT Co aims to simplify policies, amplify messages and dignify African lives through storytelling with an emphasis on art, culture and indigenous knowledge.

Source: Citi News

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