Irish medics in Vietnamese surgery campaign
Sixty Irish medics will fly to Vietnam in a bid to help people in desperate need of orthopaedic surgery.
The group, comprising 10 surgeons, six anaesthetists as well as physiotherapists and nurses, will undertake Operation Walk Ireland to offer poverty-hit Vietnamese people the chance to live normal lives.
The 60 medics are all freely donating their time in support of a campaign founded by Irish orthopaedic surgeon Dr Derek Bennett.
Dr Bennett's concept was inspired by US orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Larry Dorr, who launched a similar campaign in 1996 to help the Vietnamese people and foster links between the two countries.
The Irish group will travel to Hanoi in April and base themselves at a military hospital.
They will be provided with four operating theatres for a full week and hope to treat more than 100 patients.
All patients have been pre- selected and are drawn from people who desperately need orthopaedic surgery and cannot access local treatment.
The Irish surgical team hopes to complete 65 joint replacements in a week.
Elective joint replacement surgery is beyond the financial means of most ordinary Vietnamese people - with a standard surgical procedure normally costing the equivalent of three years' wages.
The Irish team will focus their surgical treatment on people aged between 30 and 60 years.
All 60 members of the team are paying their own travel expenses - and two Irish-based joint implant companies are providing medical devices free of charge.
Operation Walk Ireland is expected to cost in excess of €250,000.
Details on the campaign and how to support it are available from www.idonate.ie/ operation-walk-ireland