President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday urged all to take a national resolve that by 2022, every child born with clubfoot gets access to treatment as soon as the condition is diagnosed.
"In 2022, India completes 75 years of its independence. It should be a national resolve that by then every child born with clubfoot gets access to treatment services as soon as the condition is diagnosed," the president said at the inauguration of Global Clubfoot Conference in New Delhi.
Kovind informed that despite recent successes in treating clubfoot, only a small percentage of patients are brought into the ambit of treatment every year.
"I am confident this can be done. We all know the history of clubfoot. By 2022, we simply have to make clubfoot history," Kovind further added.
The event was organised by the CURE India in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that clubfoot is one of the most common orthopaedic birth defects and almost 50,000 children annually are born with this defect in India.
He added that it can cause permanent disability if not treated early, and affects the child's mobility and confidence.
Consequently, it affects education and schooling, preventing the child from reaching his/her full potential.
Kovind informed that many children suffer from a lifetime of disability and stigma as until recently the treatment required surgery, which proved expensive for parents and traumatic for both the children and their families.
He further informed of the Ponseti method, a recent treatment method "considered the gold standard in treating clubfoot" that doesn't require surgery.
The President praised the progaramme by CURE International India towards treatment of clubfoot through the new method in the country.
"I am happy to learn that public hospitals are partnering with CURE International India to reach out to as many children as possible. Such collaborative efforts between the government and civil society organisations are heartening," he said.
The programme is active in 29 states with teachers in government medical colleges and doctors in the public health system participating in it.
The eight-year-old programme has enrolled 40,000 children for treatment since 2009.
Stressing on numerous cases of disability in the country, Kovind called for prevention and treatment of preventable and curable disabilities, and inclusion of disabled individuals in the mainstream.
"Differently-abled or Divyang as we call them deserve equal opportunities in all avenues of life. Mainstreaming their social and professional experience is a commitment for all of us," the President added.
President Kovind also mentioned India's success in eradicating paralytic poliomyelitis.
"This has been a major milestone in the history of public health not only in India but globally. It must motivate us to work towards eliminating other disabilities and other diseases and take on the challenge of clubfoot," he said on the same.
500 doctors from 29 Indian states and health specialists from approximately 20 countries attended the conference.