Newborn Health & Referrals: Meet Agnes

|   BLOG

CCBRT’s Maternal & Newborn Healthcare Capacity Building Programme works to strengthen the referral system in Dar es Salaam – an initiative that has had far-reaching impacts, including at our own hospital.

Agnes was born this past November in Mnazi Mmoja Hospital, located in the densely populated city centre of Dar es Salaam. Like any new parent, Agnes’s mother was overjoyed to welcome her baby daughter into the world. But she was nervous when Agnes’s doctors noticed signs of a birth deformity: the top of her tiny right foot was twisted downward and inward, indicating a condition called clubfoot.

But Agnes’s mother didn’t need to worry. Mnazi Mmoja Hospital is one of 23 CCBRT capacity building sites in Dar es Salaam. The Maternal and Newborn Healthcare Capacity Building team has coordinated initiatives to strengthen the referral system between these health centres, allowing lower level sites to seek assistance with complicated cases at higher level or specialised facilities.

Agnes needed a referral, but not to another capacity building site. In fact, she needed high-quality, specialised disability health services – exactly the kind of care that CCBRT has provided in Dar es Salaam since 1994. The baby girl was promptly referred to CCBRT for treatment, and by January, had received her third clubfoot casting from CCBRT team members Paul and Demetria. The early detection and treatment of her condition means that it is more likely to be successful.

At less than three months old, Agnes is too young to stand or walk, but as she grows older, she should experience no physical impairments due to clubfoot. If she hadn’t been immediately referred and started treatment at such a young age, she could have lived years with a disability or had to undergo painful corrective surgery later in life. Her story shows that CCBRT’s health systems strengthening work is just as essential as its disability and newborn health services.

“I am so happy for CCBRT,” Agnes’ mother says. “I know Agnes will live a healthy and long life.”


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CCBRT clubfoot providers Paul and Demetria treat baby Agnes, as her mother and CCBRT CEO Erwin look on.
The casting is complete. Agnes will come back to CCBRT for additional treatment in a few weeks.