Children and young adults suffering from severe deformities are being encouraged to visit the nearest hospital to be included in United Africa Group (UAG)’s partnership with the International Extremity Project (IEP) to provide free medical assistance to the destitute.
Nationwide, the destitute are being requested to visit the nearest hospital from where they will be transported to Windhoek by the Ministry of Health and Social Services for screening and subsequently for recorrective surgery at no cost, if they qualify.
The IEP is a grassroots medical mission started in 1998 by Dr Bruce Lehnert to provide support to provide medical assistance to those in need. The IEP team is made up of volunteer doctors, who perform surgeries and provide much-needed modern medical equipment and training to local doctors and medical students. In 2012, through the partnership with UAG, IEP conducted its first medical mission to Namibia, where they performed surgical correction on disadvantaged people suffering from severe lower-extremity deformities. As a result of the successful surgeries conducted in 2012 and the positive impact it had on the lives of Namibians, IEP returned this year for their second mission, which commenced at Katutura Intermediate Hospital yesterday.
Severe lower-extremity deformities preclude normal walking, but when corrected reduce physical and social barriers. Such deformities can be present from birth, or may occur at a later stage as a result of fracture, infection, arthritis or tumors.
A statement released by UAG and the Dr Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun Foundation stated that the orthopaedic surgeries will be conducted at Katutura State Hospital alongside the Namibian medical team led by Dr Stanley Kanyemba from the Ministry of Health.
“The Ministry of Health and Social Services has been instrumental in the facilitation of the surgeries and are currently assisting IEP to screen patients over the next week to determine whether they qualify for surgery. I, therefore, call upon all church leaders and community leaders who know of people with lower leg deformities to contact their nearest hospital to seek assistance in getting these patients to Windhoek for pre-screening and surgery. The Ministry of Health will be transporting patients from various regions to Windhoek in order to conduct the pre-screening,” the statement read.
The IEP team will also be presenting medical lectures at the University of Namibia’s Medical Campus at no cost to participants, as from today until next week Tuesday.