Zimmer Biomet Shannon 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, 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 continues 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.”