The ‘Indiana Jones’ of orthopaedic surgery

cbm uk logo3rd June is International Clubfoot Day, CBM UK, the overseas disability charity celebrates this day by launching a campaign with ‘Superdoctor’, Orthopedic Surgeon, Steve Mannion whose work is to treat and rehabilitate people with clubfoot in some of the poorest countries in the world.

Steve Mannion graduated from Downing College, Cambridge in 1986; he then went on to become CBM’s Orthopaedic Advisor based in far-flung and under-resourced corners of the world. Most of Steve’s work is performed in countries where there is limited equipment and no money, everything he does has to be done through sheer skill and initiative.

In Malawi, Steve was the only Orthopaedic Surgeon for seven million people in the northern area of the country. The need for more Orthopaedic Surgeons is vital in countries like Malawi as it is estimated that more than 220,000 babies are born worldwide each year with congenital clubfoot – and 80% of all cases occur in developing countries.

Steve quickly realised the need to come up with a new non-surgical solution which medical staff in Malawi could perform themselves. He found a little known treatment called the Ponseti Method and begun using it on children in CBM-Supported projects.

Steve Mannion said, “It has become the gold standard of treatment in Africa. It is more effective than treating club foot with surgery. The treatment, which consists of a series of plaster casts, can be performed without a surgeon.”

Kirsty Smith, CEO of CBM UK said, “This non-invasive method is crucial, in a country like Malawi that has so few surgeons. It does not need to be done by doctors – it can be applied by local health workers but they need to be supported as they go through a learning curve.”

In 2004 Steve moved back to the UK to work as a part time Orthopaedic Surgeon in Blackpool Victoria Hospital – but he continues to work for CBM on a part time basis. He spends 2-3 weeks working in the UK and then the next 2-4 weeks working with CBM-Supported projects worldwide. His commitment, knowledge and passion for CBM will continue to be a huge part of his life!

Steve’s achievements led the BBC to hail him as the “Indian Jones of Surgery”!

Based on the success in applying the Ponseti method in Malawi, CBM is now one of the leading organisations for clubfoot treatment worldwide!

CBM and its partners – the Ponseti International Association, Cure International and The Global Clubfoot Initiative will continue to work in developing countries to build training programmes to develop knowledge and skill sets to improve mobilisation of people with clubfoot.

Just £150 pays for a complete treatment of corrective surgery using the ponseti method. This allows a developed case of clubfoot to be treated, enabling a child to walk independently and lead an active life alongside their friends, free from the associated pain and stigma that often accompanies disability.

About CBM

CBM is the largest Christian disability charity in the world. Based on its Christian values and over 100 years of professional experience, CBM focuses on those trapped in poverty by disability or at risk of disability, regardless of race, gender, age or religion.  Find out more about CBM and their work at

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