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“La Vida’s first project. We trained 556 orthopaedic surgeons throughout Brazil, who helped 5000 children just in 2008 using the Ponseti technique to treat clubfoot”

Project Co-ordinator: Katy Vatis and Helen Ilsley
Location: Brazil (Dr Monica Nogueira based in Sao Paulo)
Amount: £ 31,700



  • The Ponseti Project was La Vida’s first project which has now been completed.
  • We trained 556 paediatric orthopaedic surgeons (about 7% of the 8000 surgeons in Brazil) through 21 weekend seminars over a 2 year period.
  • Our funding means these surgeons are now trained to treat clubfoot with the groundbreaking non-surgical Ponseti Technique, which has a 94% success rate.
  • In 2008, these surgeons treated 5000 children and each year we expect this number to increase significantly.

Description of Project

Our first project raised the funds to help Brazilian children born with clubfoot. This project was proposed and executed by Dr. Monica Paschoal Nogueira, MD, a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon, based in Sao Paulo.

She specialises in congenital defects and needs to raise around USD$50,000 for a two year project whereby she wanted to train 20-30 Brazilian orthopaedic surgeons in each region, covering the whole country, the Ponseti technique of treating clubfoot.

In Brazil, around 7300 Brazilian children are born with clubfoot every year. Neglected clubfoot causes crushing physical, social, psychological and financial burdens on the patients, their families and society.

Clubfoot in an otherwise normal child can be corrected in 2 months or less with the Ponseti method of manipulations and plaster cast applications, with minimal or no surgery. The technique is easy to learn but requires correct training and attention to detail. A well organised health system is needed to ensure that parents follow the instructions for use of the foot abduction brace to prevent relapses. Medical education projects with the Ponseti technique represent the most efficient way to reduce the incidence of neglected clubfoot and correct the deformities in newborn babies.

With just £31,700 three orthopaedic surgeons ran a 2 day training programme, one weekend per month, which covered in total 21 Brazilian cities over a 2 year period. The funding covered the costs of textbooks about the Ponseti technique, clubfoot plastic models to teach the manipulation techniques and flights and accommodation for the teaching surgeons.

La Vida’s funding has now trained 556 surgeons, about 7% of the 8000 surgeons in Brazil. In total, Dr.Monica has trained 683 surgeons. Her aim is for every Brazilian child born with clubfoot to have access to a trained orthopaedic surgeon who will be able to treat them with the Ponseti technique which has a 94% success rate. This project has made a huge difference to the lives of thousands of children and families throughout Brazil. For further information about clubfoot and the Ponseti technique visit:

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