Free help for foot and ankle patients

12 December 2019 | Health

Claudia Reiter
For the second time, Namibia is hosting foot and ankle surgeons from Europe and America as part of the Steps2Walk conference currently taking place in the capital.
As part of the programme, at least 20 Namibians are undergoing pro bono operations at the Lady Pohamba Private Hospital (LPPH) while numerous Namibian physicians will be trained at the same time.
Steps2Walk is an international aid organisation dedicated to foot and ankle patients in disadvantaged population groups around the world. Namibia has been an integral part of this global initiative since 2018, bringing together surgeons from around the world to the benefit of the public.
The founder, Dr. Mark Myerson, was in Windhoek on Monday. “Last year, 18 Namibian patients with significant malformations and deformities were treated with surgery,” he said.
According to him, all these patients were dependent on the state health system and would not have access to this type of treatment under normal circumstances.
The week-long program began on Monday and includes a lot of theory. The participating medical professionals from Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa attended several lectures and training courses.
The following day, patients were selected for the procedures scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. For the local physicians to follow the operations, talk to the surgeons and ask questions, the event in the operating theater was broadcast.
On the last day, complications during the procedures of the previous days will be discussed.
Orthopedist and program manager Dr Jacques Jonck said there is a great need for this type of surgery. “This year alone I diagnosed 40 patients with complex foot and ankle problems who need surgical treatment. However, during the past year we could only operate on around half the cases. The remaining 20 patients will unfortunately have to wait.”
However, he said that with the help of local implant companies and LPPH, he would like to try and treat at least on pro bono patient a month.
LPPH is an official supporter of the initiative. Other local sponsors are NAMRAD, Killian Orthopedics, Gecka Pharma, Smith & Nephew Orthopedic Division, Paragon28 Orthopedic Implant Company, the Gondwana Collection and Ohlthaver & List.

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