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Zimmer Biomet Ireland Plays a Key Role in Helping 100 People in Vietnam Walk Again

Some of the Zimmer Biomet team at Shannon, who manufactured the implants, used to transform the lives of 100 patients in Vietnam as part of Operation Walk Ireland. Back row, left to right:  Garry Ennett, Seamus Lynch, Kenneth Collins, David Corbett, John O’Donoghue, Roy Thompson and Stephen O’Kelly. Front row, left to right:  Darren Kierse, Craig Phayer, Kieran Quinlan, Angela Gibbons, Lisa Cummins, Shirley Gibbons, Kieran Connolly, and Magdalenza Gladysz.

Zimmer Biomet Ireland Plays a Key Role in Helping 100 People in Vietnam Walk Again

 Zimmer Biomet, a global leader in musculoskeletal healthcare, has played a key role in helping 100 people from Vietnam to walk again. As part of a broader company effort, the company’s Shannon and Galway manufacturing operations recently donated knee implants to charity, Operation Walk Ireland, while three employees from Ireland also travelled to Vietnam to serve as part of a volunteer team from Ireland’s orthopaedic community.

Over the course of one week, the 168-person team, which included surgeons, anaesthetists, physical therapists, nurses, sterilisation staff and implant specialists, operated on 100 patients in Hanoi, transforming the lives of people, who had been immobile for years. The Zimmer Biomet volunteers included Ian Kelly, who heads up the company’s commercial operations in Ireland. He described the experience in Hanoi as life-changing. “We experienced the whole patient journey – we saw all of the patients during pre-op, worked on their procedure in theatre and then saw them post-op and in recovery the next day. It was incredibly moving to see a patient, who has not walked for eight years, walking in physical therapy, two days later.”

Acknowledging the support of Zimmer Biomet, David Cogley, Co-director of Operation Walk Ireland said, “Joint replacement surgery is in its infancy in Vietnam due primarily to the difficulty of poorer people being able to access high tech medicine, such as joint replacement, cataract or cardiac surgery. In a country of 96 million, the number of people who receive joint replacements is in the low thousands each year. Compare this to Ireland, where around 10,000 hip and knee replacements are undertaken annually. As a result, an important component of our work is to cooperate with the Vietnamese surgeons and medical team, who are extremely interested in learning about modern minimally invasive and rapid recovery techniques in hip and knee replacements. We are proud of the role Ireland plays – ours was one of the first international chapters to be set up and the Ireland business and medical orthopaedic community continue to provide huge support. I want to extend a big thank you to Zimmer Biomet for its generous donation and for the dedication and expertise of its volunteers.”

Claude Costelloe, General Manager of Zimmer Biomet’s Ireland manufacturing facilities commented, “Our team is proud to know that knee implants, manufactured in Shannon and Galway, have helped to restore mobility for patients in Vietnam. We are inspired by the dedication of Operation Walk and are delighted to play our part in supporting this worthy charity. This work is very much in alignment with our mission to improve the quality of life for people around the world and give back to people and communities in need.”

About Zimmer Biometwas founded in 1927 and headquartered in Warsaw, Indiana, Zimmer Biomet is a global leader in musculoskeletal healthcare. We design, manufacture and market orthopaedic reconstructive products; sports medicine, biologics, extremities and trauma products; office-based technologies; spine, craniomaxillofacial and thoracic products; dental implants; and related surgical products. We collaborate with healthcare professionals around the globe to advance the pace of innovation. Our products and solutions help treat patients suffering from disorders of, or injuries to, bones, joints or supporting soft tissues. Together with healthcare professionals, we help millions of people live better lives. We have operations in more than 25 countries around the world and sell products in more than 100 countries. A leading employer in Shannon and Oranmore, Galway, Zimmer Biomet’s footprint in Ireland features two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities plus a professional education centre that attracts healthcare professionals from around the world.

Operation Walk is a volunteer medical humanitarian organisation that provides the gift of mobility through life-changing joint replacement surgeries at no cost for those in need globally. First set up in 1996 by Dr Larry Dorr, Los Angeles, Operation Walk expanded to form 15 separate chapters in North America before forming an international group. As part of this effort, Operation Walk Ireland was set up in 2016. During each international surgical mission, Operation Walk educates in-country orthopaedic surgeons, nurses, physical therapists and other healthcare professionals on the most advanced treatments and surgical techniques for diseases of the hip and knee joints. This creates a lasting contribution. Although Vietnam’s percentage of the population classified as “in poverty” has fallen from 58 per cent to 13 per cent in the last 20 years, life expectancy is rising rapidly, creating a population with a rapidly increasing demand for joint replacement. It is estimated that as development proceeds, Vietnam will reach an annual demand for 260,000 hip and knee replacements annually.

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.