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STEPS2WALK changed lives in Namibia again!

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The outreach, which was hosted by both Windhoek Central Hospital and Lady Pohamba Private Hospital, had doctors (faculty) perform surgical care of disabling foot and ankle deformities, while simultaneously educating orthopedic surgeons in various treatment alternatives. Founded by an American Doctor, Mark Myerson in 2000, the project is aimed at responding to the need for education and training of international foot and ankle surgeons who had little access to ongoing and advanced training in the specialty.

The week-long event commenced on the 10th  – 14th of June 2024 and saw delegates and surgeons from the United States of America, United Kingdom, Brazil, Malawi and South Africa attend, and perform foot and ankle operations to disadvantaged patients in the country. Eleven local doctors and nurses also participated in the project by attending the scientific program, patient evaluations and live surgeries presented by the specialized faculty on the treatment and general information around foot and ankle surgeries.

Speaking at Windhoek Central Hospital, Senior Medical Superintendent, and leading partner of the project in Namibia, Dr Sara Shalongo: “We are proud and privileged to welcome you back to Namibia and we are thankful that you make such a difference every time you visit.”

Speaking on behalf of FNB Namibia as one of the leading sponsors for this year’s project, Group Corporate Social Investment Manager, Ms. Revonia Job, mentioned that FirstRand Foundation recognizes quality healthcare is an imperative constituent for a healthy lifestyle.

“We believe that investing in the health of underprivileged individuals not only empowers them but also enables them to take significant strides towards a brighter and more promising future for themselves. I’ve has seen firsthand the difference these surgeries have had on patients and to be part of the journey has been incredible. ”Job mentioned.

Sponsors have partnered with Ministry of Health and Social Services of Namibia to provide specialist foot and ankle surgical care, to patients without access to this type of treatment, free of charge. FirstRand Foundation pledged N$200 000 again this year. Avis Rent-a-Car transported faculty and delegates daily to and from Windhoek Central Hospital and their accommodation. Windhoek Town Lodge sponsored the first to nights free of charge and offered  discounted rates for the rest of the week for all attendees. Namibia Contract Caterers sponsored the daily meals and refreshments. Namrad supports the healthcare providers annually with all radiology services and Pathcare assists with pathology services.
Geka donated anesthetic medication & vitamins for the patients. Nedbank generously settled the difference of the accommodation and assisted payment of the Work Visa’s. Caremed supported the surgeons with orthopaedic implants. Genmed donated all sutures used and NuAngle sponsored wound care products. Sun Medical Supplies assisted in theatre with sawblades, power tools, and wound solution. Gondwana Trust supported the outreach by capturing the story through ProStudio. PPS brought warm food, colouring books & crayons for patients during the evaluation day. Parrot donated a white board, markers and an eraser. Shoprite & Checkers surprised the patients with food parcels the day after surgery, which they could take home. O&L donated juice and yoghurt too. Kilian Orthopaedics assists with post operative assistive devices and Wellington Physiotherapy supports patients after the surgeries. All patients were evaluated and given psychosocial support through a social worker.

Since 2018, 75 patients have received free reconstructive surgeries and this year 22 patients’ lives were changed forever (15 children and 7 adults – total of 31 feet were operated on within two days). Steps2Walk aims to ease the burden that comes with poor foot health before it impacts an individual’s ability to carry out their daily tasks which ultimately empowers them to be productive members of their communities.

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