Feet First was established in 2004 by Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon, Mr Steve Mannion. Mr Mannion and his multi-disciplinary team from Blackpool, visited Malawi to treat children with severe orthopaedic deformities and to train local staff in basic surgical techniques and the management of club foot.
Since then, a visit in 2005 was aimed at the treatment of cerebral palsy. Laos was first visited in 2006 where training courses in the management of club foot were run. This centre is well supported by COPE a NGO that has been involved in South East Asia for a number of years. They have specialised orthotics and prosthetics departments and provide a very good service for diseases such as polio and leprosy.
A follow up visit in 2007 enabled Mr Mannion to operate on some neglected cases of club foot, providing hands-on training for the surgeons and giving the team the chance to visit regional centres to find out how previous teachings were being implemented.
2008 brought further visits to Malawi and the filming of the BBC documentary “Superdocs” presented by Sir Robert Winston. The documentary followed Mr Mannion to Malawi and showed in detail the dedicated work carried out by Mr Mannion and the team from Feet First.
Featured in the film is a young man called Martin, who had suffered all his life from club foot without any treatment. In the film, Martin underwent corrective surgery to one of his feet and Mr Mannion hopes to operate on the other foot during the next twelve months.
So far in 2009 – Our first visit to Malawi this year was in February and March, during this visit, Mr Mannion and the team went to find Martin to track his progress, as you can see from the photos, he is doing very well. Further visits to Malawi are planned for June and July 2009 and Mr Mannion hopes to operate on Martin’s other foot during his time there. Other visits in 2009 include, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Bangladesh and a final 2009 visit to Malawi before the end of the year
We will continue in our work to treat and prevent physical disability worldwide with your help. We offer our sincere thanks to all who have donated and held fundraising events to raise the money to make all of this possible.
Ms Mercy Nkhalamba
Blackpool; Fylde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Trust
24 Ullswater Road
Tel: +44(0)1253 311348