International doctors to aid 20 Namibians with the ability to walk

Creating new steps
The Steps2Walk non-profit organisation is set to gift 20 Namibians the ability to walk again.
Jeanette Diergaardt
The Steps2Walk non-profit organisation and team of doctors is once again availing their surgical skills to 20 Namibians with foot, ankle and leg deformities, pro-bono.

According to the founder and president of the foundation, Dr Mark Myerson, one of these surgeries can cost approximately N$300 000. The surgeries will take place at the Lady Pohamba Private Hospital that will be providing all the equipment to enable these surgeries. In addition to the surgeries, training of doctors will take place. The surgeries will be live streamed for doctors to access and view for training.

“This is not something we can do without help from everybody," Dr Myerson said.

Local and financial support is provided through Nedbank and First National Bank Namibia. However, the treatment is provided free from a group of volunteer surgeons from all over the world.

Across Namibia, the team of surgeons has operated on over 100 patients. These patients include people with cerebral palsy, club feet, deformities at birth or patients who were in car accidents and need surgery.

Dr Myerson added that over eight in 1 000 in southern Africans have club foot deformities, while globally, this number is one in 1 000.

Patients are chosen according to who will benefit the most, which is an extremely difficult choice to make, he explained. Children who cannot wear shoes, which in turn leads to them not being able to attend school, were prioritised.

“This is not just about taking a foot and making it straight. We have to think about many other factors like the child, the community and the family, and it is all about those most in need,” Dr Myerson said.

One of the beneficiaries, Aina Daniel (24), strained her ankle in 2014 and due to not receiving a cast at the hospital, she grew a tumour in her leg. This is the third operation she will be having through the Steps2Walk organisation.

Steps2Walk has performed over 1 400 surgical operations in more than 24 countries. Over 500 surgeons have received training though the organisation.