The Namibian (Windhoek)

18 June 2012

Namibia: U.S. Doctors Perform Voluntary Work in Namibia

A TEAM of doctors from the International Extremity Project in the United States of America are currently in Namibia to operate on patients at the Katutura State Hospital.

The three doctors and one nurse are in Namibia for the first time and they will be operating on 18 patients with leg and foot deformities. Dr Bruce Lehnert and his team have been doing this volunteer work since 1998. He mostly works in Vietnam.

At the beginning of this year, businessman Haddis Tilahun of the United Africa Group, approached Dr Lehnert and asked him if he would be interested in performing some surgeries in Namibia.

Together with the Africa United Group and the Ministry of Health and Social Services, and the doctors arrived in Windhoek on Monday. The patients were all pre-screened according to Dr Lehnert's requirements.

"Physicians in Namibia are very qualified and they followed my specifications to the letter, so when we got here there was not much for us to do except to start operating," said Lehnert.

Theopoldine !Ases, the mother of 15-year-old Festus !Aseb, was overwhelmed when her son went into the operating theatre. "We came here from Khorixas and finally, after all these years, people have come from so far to help my son," she said.

!Aseb was born with a club foot and because of this, he was walking on his toes.

"He did not attend school as the children were teasing him a lot," his mother said, adding that his life is about to change drastically after the operation.

"It makes it all worthwhile when the patients come up to you during the follow-up sessions and even years later thank you for changing their lives for the better for ever," said Dr Lehnert, whose assistants do the volunteer work during their holiday time without any payment.

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