Operation Footprint Adds India to Its Humanitarian Efforts
Operation Footprint, formerly known by many as the Baja Project for Crippled Children, is a 501c3 non-profit organization which, for the past 40 years, has been treating pediatric and adult patients in Mexico and Central America afflicted with various congenital and acquired foot and ankle deformities, most commonly neglected clubfoot, along with a variety of conditions including, but not limited to, vertical talus, spastic equinus, meningocoele-impacted foot and ankle conditions, and other neurologic conditions, including polio. In the process the organization has also trained over 200 podiatric residents.
On August 22, 2019 a contingent of senior Operation Footprint surgeons traveled to India to establish an additional location for its humanitarian outreach. A pilot project was initiated in 2017 by Dr. Bhavesh Shah, a 20-year member of the Operation Footprint faculty. Noting it’s potential, and with an additional assist through a grant from Rotary International, an Operation Footprint team conducted a surgical mission over a 4-day period. Patients were pre-screened over the prior 12 months by Indian orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ankit Varshneya, and anesthesiologist Dr. Nimta Varshneye, who graciously provided their surgical facility for the effort and who are handling all aftercare. Drs. Marc Benard and Bruce Werber delivered lectures to the Agra Orthopedic Society.
Operation Footprint hopes to build on this platform and impact the podiatric patient community in India as it has done for so many years in Mexico and Central America. “Equally important”, said Dr. Shah, “is the exchange of our methods and expertise on the correction of such severe deformities with the local medical community to facilitate its ability to follow our lead and expand this much needed care.”
In addition to Dr. Shah (Texas), the Operation Footprint team consisted of Drs. Werber (Arizona), Benard (North Carolina), Dr. Matthew Roberts (Oklahoma), Dr. Robert Aki (Hawaii) and Dr. Steven Schwartz (California).