News / Health

Operation Walk Gives Needy Patients New Life

Operation Walk Gives Needy Patients New Lifei
X
January 23, 2013 6:48 PM
People suffering from severe bone and joint problems live with pain and disability every moment of their lives. For some, the only solution is a hip or knee replacement, an expensive procedure many people cannot afford. VOA's Elizabeth Lee reports that an American-based organization called Operation Walk is working to heal people from Tanzania, to Nepal to the United States, who would otherwise not be able to afford treatment.
Elizabeth Lee
People suffering from severe bone and joint diseases live with pain every moment of their lives. For some, the only solution is a hip or knee replacement, an expensive procedure many around the world cannot afford.  An American-based organization called Operation Walk is working to heal people from Tanzania, to Nepal to the United States, who would otherwise not be able to afford treatment.

“You’re dealing with the pain constantly 24 hours a day you’re getting no peace, “ laments Steven McKellar. He is no stranger to pain.

McKellar suffered from osteoarthritis, a joint disease. The simple act of standing up was excruciating. He needed a double hip replacement but couldn’t afford it because he didn’t have health insurance.  

“You just want to give up. You turn into yourself. You close off to the outside world. It is very depressing,” he explains.

Operation Walk threw McKellar a lifeline.  He had double hip replacement surgery free of charge.  The pain he experienced for so long disappeared and so did his depression.

“He was standing tall. He was standing straight," says his wife, Vallie McKellar. "I saw him again, like I got my six-foot husband back again, and I could see the stress in his face had left.”

Lawrence Dorr, an orthopedic surgeon in Los Angeles, performed the operation.  He founded Operation Walk in 1996. It also provides free surgical treatment for poor people in developing countries including Nepal and Tanzania where people with bone and joint diseases face a stigma.

“If you’re crippled, you are an outcast. If you’re a woman, you can’t get married, and if you’re a man you can’t get a job,” notes Dorr.

Operation Walk went to Tanzania for the first time in June.  Many people there have little hope for good medical care. 

“There is a lot of poverty. There is a lot of discrepency between private medicine," explains Operation Walk surgeon Ammer Malik. He's from Kenya but practices medicine in Spain. "Maybe 85 percent of the population cannot access that kind of medicine.”

Dr. Geoffrey Kibira of the Arusha Lutheran Medical Center says some patients in Tanzania were afraid of getting an artifical hip or knee.

“The problem, majority couldn’t understand that you can put artifical things in the hip or the knee and walk again," the doctor says. "After seeing some of the patients improving walking and they are pain-free -- now people are coming.”

Dr. Malik has been returning to Tanzania on his vacations to deal with any post operative complications.

“I tell you it is more rewarding for me than what it is for them,” he admits.

In Los Angeles, physical therapist Dianna Donofrio is working with Operation Walk to help Steve McKellar recover from his double hip replacement.

"It’s not so much a financial thing when I went into this business as it was a calling," she says, "just having to help people and get them walking again and it’s something that’s a passion for me. it’s not just a job or a career."

Dorr says he sees change in many of the volunteer doctors and nurses who help patients in developing countries.

“They realize they can do things they didn’t even know they can do," he says. "And they can help people even better than they ever thought they could. And it changes them; it changes them for the good."

Dorr adds that for these volunteers, it becomes a calling that gives meaning to their lives.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ibrahim Ajlan from: yemen
January 27, 2013 8:03 AM
Allah protect you guys
thank you very much

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More