Global foot and ankle outreach program changes lives in Namibia

Namibia is currently the host of renowned foot and ankle surgeons from Europe, the UK and the Americas, at the annual global ‘Steps2Walk’ Foot and Ankle Outreach and Conference, hosted in the country for the 2nd consecutive year. At least 20 Namibians will receive surgical treatment, free of charge at the Lady Pohamba Private Hospital (LPPH) – host facility of this life-changing experience.

‘Steps2Walk’ (https://steps2walk.org/) is a non-profit organization that reaches out to patients with foot and ankle pathology in under-privileged communities around the globe. Since 2018, Namibia became an annual fixture on the global program, which brings together surgeons from around the world, to serve a double purpose. Executive Director and Founder of ‘Steps2Walk’, Dr. Mark Myerson. “During last year’s outreach program, 18 Namibian state patients with crippling deformation received surgical treatment from the international faculty, together with local medical officers in Orthopaedic surgery, at the LPPH. All of these patients had complex problems, and are part of the state health care system and under normal circumstances would not have had access to this type of treatment.”

The same week-long program that started on Monday, 09 December and runs until Friday, 13 December, also includes educating and empowering participating surgeons on the treatment. Such participants also include surgeons from South Africa, Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Orthopaedic Surgeon and Program Host, Dr. Jacques Heinrich Jonck: “This year I have identified 40 state patients with complex foot and ankle problems that needs surgical treatment. We only have the capacity to treat 20 patients surgically during this year’s program. The rest of the patients will have to wait for next year and with the help of local implant companies and the generous support of LPPH, I will attempt to treat at least one (1) patient per month for the remaining 20 patients, next year. I personally followed last year’s patients post operatively until complete recovery and can testify for the positive change it made in their lives.”

At last year’s outreach, 15 orthopaedic surgeons received academic and practical training during the week and went back to their respective communities with valuable new skills and a renewed passion to help patients with foot and ankle problems. These international surgeons are, according to Dr. Jonck, being hand-picked and all of them have special skills that they are willing to offer free of charge to the local patient community and at the same time teach the Southern African Orthopaedic foot and ankle community.

Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group Manager: Corporate Relations, Patricia Hoeksema: “Through its vision of being a catalyst for positive change, the O&L Group, together with all the other sponsors for the 2019 ‘Steps2Walk’ Foot and Ankle Outreach and Conference proudly supports this noble cause. We celebrate the success of last year’s events and look forward to see even more lives changed through this life-changing program, going forward.” Other sponsors for the 2019 ‘Steps2Walk’ Foot and Ankle Outreach and Conference include: Lady Pohamba Private Hospital, NAMRAD, Killian Orthopaedics, Gecka Pharma, Smith and Nephew Orthopaedic Division, Paragon28 Orthopaedic Implant Company and Gondwana.

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