We provide hip and knee replacements for people with advanced arthritis in developing countries. Operation Walk Ireland is at ground level working to educate Vietnamese surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and physiotherapists in Vietnam about joint replacement. We leverage our strong connections with colleagues in the United States to grow our organisation.
The first independent Operation Walk Ireland mission will take place in Hanoi in May this year. Vietnam is a country of 93 million people who have rapidly improved their prosperity in recent times. Over the last 20 years the percentage of the population classified as "in poverty" has fallen from 58% to 13% and the life expectancy is rising rapidly. This creates a population with a rapidly increasing demand for joint replacement. We have estimated that as development proceeds, Vietnam will reach an annual demand for hip & knee replacements of 260,000 annually.
Operation Walk was set up in 1996 by Dr. Larry Dorr, Los Angeles, and has expanded to form 15 separate chapters in North America. The next stage in the development of the organisation is to make it an international group and to this end, Operation Walk Ireland was set up last year. The Irish team partnered with Operation Walk Chicago, under the direction of Dr. David Stulberg last year to perform Operation Walk's first International joint mission in Hanoi, Vietnam. This mission performed 86 hip & knee replacements in 5 days and engaged in a surgical educational program with the Vietnamese Orthopaedic surgeons.