The Cross River State government alongside The Nigerian Medical Association and the Nigerian Red Cross through the Club Foot Project are working in synergy to ensure that Anthony Peter who is popularly known in the media as the boy with the Club Foot in Ekpeneki community in Odukpani LGA receive proper medical treatment. This is following a media frenzy caused following earlier misdiagnosis of his condition.
The State Commissioner for Health , Dr. Inyang Asibong led the State Epidemiology team headed by Mrs. Patience Uke to conduct a sensitization exercise at the community and also to bring the child to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital where he is currently undergoing a correction process on the leg.
Upon her arrival at the community the Commissioner said “we have a lot of these types of communities, hard to reach communities, in Cross river state. I’m glad we’ve been able to experience firsthand what these communities are like and what it is to get here, to get access, to get health commodities to these communities. It takes passion to actually come out here, pass through this type of terrain we just passed through to make sure that this people have access to medicine.” She went ahead to say “the child is suffering from a medical condition called Talipes which is commonly known as Club Foot. And there’s real hope because the child is still a baby, he’s barely two years old. At this point the bones are not fused meaning something can be done even right here in Cross River State.
The boy’s mother confirmed that her baby was vaccinated upon delivery in 2015, putting to rest further the Poliomyelitis rumor.
Dr Asibong added “It became necessary for the health team to come and take the child for treatment because of the need to improve the life of the little child and given the lack of proper orientation in the community. “We had to come ourselves to make sure the child is actually taken for treatment because the community has a difficult terrain and there’s a possibility of not taking the child for medical care if we don’t come ourselves”,
The team also acknowledged the magnanimity of one of the community leaders who leased a portion of his house where the only health facility in the community is located. The State Ministry of Health is committed to ensuring functional health centers across communities such as this they said.
The team also highlighted the need for family planning as a part of their sensitization exercise to educate the minds of the community members most which have large numbers of children and with little to cater to their needs. This came after they met with the boy’s family and discovered the mother already has seven children with little spacing between them. Anthony is baby number six.
The child was handed over to the UCTH team led by Dr. Ngim Ewezu who represented the Chief Medical Director Prof. Thomas Agan and the Nigerian Red Cross team headed by Professor Ngim Ngim who is also the head of Orthopedics department in the hospital. The teams swung into action and commenced the correcting process immediately. They assured the public that the boy will be given the best treatment that can be obtained anywhere in the world, and also promised to keep the public abreast as they progress. He also appealed to kind hearted Nigerians to donate to the Red Cross as it is interested in helping the vulnerable in the society but the cost of treatment is a barrier.
Dr. Asibong thanked everybody involved in the correction process; she specially thanked His Excellency, Sen. Prof. Benedict Ayade for his contributory efforts in making the process possible and creating room for more people to benefit. She assured that it’s the beginning of a life changing journey for both the baby and his family.