Little five-year-old Tahiry from Madagascar cannot walk more than a few steps without falling over. His legs are bowed and his right foot is twisted inwards and he has no way to get to school. Clubfoot (talipes equinovarus) is a common birth deformity that affects around 200,000 babies worldwide each year, and 80% of those children are born in countries where for most people the surgery is either not available, or the family has no way to raise the money to pay for it. Tahiry’s mother was desperate to find a way to help him and when her sister told her that a relative had received a free surgery on a hospital ship that would return to Madagascar a few weeks later she jumped at the chance.
Taking any opportunity possible to help her son, she travelled to Antananarivo the capital where she arranged for someone to care for him while she waited in line for 24 hours outside the screen centre, where a medical team from the ship would be evaluating patients the following day for a possible surgery on board. She just had to make sure he was one of the first seen! When she finally had an appointment card in her hand for a free surgery she broke down and cried with joy and relief that her son would finally get help and that he would not have to live life with a disability that in Madagascar would be impossible to overcome!