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By: Ketemba Tjipepa

About 35 local children and adults with foot and ankle deformities will undergo live changing surgeries this week to straighten their feet.

The free surgery to be contacted at the Windhoek Central Hospital and Lady Pohamba, is provided by world renowned orthopaedics surgeons from Steps to walk, a global humanitarian organisation visiting the country for a week. Now in its seventh year, the programme has already transformed the lives of over 75 people in the country.

Spearheaded by an orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Mark Myers, a South African born based in Colorado, United States of America, stated that the programme which operates in 19 countries worldwide, has had a special impact on the patients. He described it as a privilege to have the world’s finest surgeons as part of the programme who are offering surgeries this week.

In addition to the surgeries, the programme has also included 40 regional orthopaedic surgeons from the countries such as Namibia, Malawi,Angola and Ethiopia, who are being trained and educated in the treatment of these deformities.

“We also think of a life of a child or an adult. It is not about the fact that they cannot walk, or they cannot wear a shoe. How do they get to school? How do they get an education? What is their future like, their family suffers, the whole community suffers and that is what makes it so special,everywhere in the world where we work,”stated Myerson

In an informal interview with NewsOnOne, six-year-old Silvanus Tjikusere, who is unable to walk properly after an accidental shooting at age two, dreams of becoming an attorney. He is scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday. Accompanied by his unemployed grandmother,Elfriede Tjikusere, who travelled with him from Karibib, said she is grateful for the operation which comes at no cost.

“It is challenging for him to walk to kindergarten due to his condition. Next year, when he starts grade one, it will be much easier if his foot is operated on. Right now, it is difficult for him to see other children walking properly, which can sometimes make him feel down,” stated the grandmother, while adding that she grateful for the doctors who travelled to the country and dedicated their time to assist them free of charge.

Another beneficiaries is 66-year-old Mbapeua Kaputu,who underwent surgery in 2023. Kaputu was unable to walk for 15 years until a life-changing surgery performed by Dr Myerson and his team.Kaputu expressed gratitude to the doctors for enabling her to walk again and for granting her the ability to perform tasks she had been unable to do before.

Among the sponsors for the step 2 walk programme is First National Bank, through the First Rand Namibia foundation ,which has donated N$ 200 000 for the third year in a row. Others sponsors include Namibia Radiology, Gecka pharmacy, City Lodge, Wellington physiotherapy as well as Kilian orthopaedic.

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