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CURE Ethiopia’s Innovative Gait Lab Offers Personalized Treatment for Children


For children like Tamirat, who suffer from severe feet and leg conditions, the ability to ever walk normally may seem impossible. But CURE Children’s Hospital of Ethiopia (CURE Ethiopia) is providing individualized treatment plans for patients like Tamirat using state-of-the-art 3D gait analysis to make impossible things possible.


Dr. Julie (left) speaks with a caregiver (center) and CURE Ethiopia’s Gait Lab Technician, Yididya Megersa.


Dr. Julie Stebbins from the Oxford Gait Laboratory, along with consultant Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Tim Theologis from the University of Oxford, visited CURE Children’s Hospital of Ethiopia (CURE Ethiopia) in February as part of an ongoing partnership with the hospital’s gait laboratory.


Dr. Julie ensures the reflective markers used to capture a patient’s movement with the camera are applied properly.


Dr. Julie, an international authority on gait analysis, trained our doctors and physical therapists when the gait lab was established in 2019. Both she and Dr. Tim return periodically to meet with hospital staff to ensure things are running smoothly and to share best practices and research.

The gait lab uses special motion-capture cameras (the same type of cameras used for making animated movies and computer games) to track a patient’s movement. In the lab, staff place reflective markers all over the patient’s body. The cameras emit light, and when that light is reflected via the reflective markers, the camera follows its movement, recording the joint motion and tracking the patient. The patient also walks on sensitive plates that provide further information for measuring balance and for rehabilitation purposes.


Dr. Julie examines a patient.


This innovative technology is primarily used for patients with neuromuscular disorders like cerebral palsy and complex orthopedic conditions, providing detailed information to our surgeons and physical therapists so they can individualize treatment for each child, maximizing outcomes.

“Children with cerebral palsy can have complex locomotor problems at multiple levels—pelvis, hips, knees, foot, and ankle,” shared CURE Ethiopia Orthopedic Surgeon Laurence Wicks. “It can be difficult to untangle and work out where the main problem is. Video and motion capture allows us to understand in great detail what is happening during a child’s walking. It helps us to identify what is going on, and how we can help the children.”

The lab is the first of its kind in the country and the only other active gait lab on the African continent outside of South Africa. Currently, the lab is used only for gait analysis but in the future could be utilized to assess upper body function and spinal alignment.

“Besides helping those who struggle to walk, the gait lab will also help with other things too!” said Dr. Julie. “You can measure hand and arm function using the same camera, assess children with cerebral palsy, and you gain information to provide treatment or conditions related to the motions of arms and hands.”

Thank you, Drs. Julie and Tim and Oxford Gait Lab,  for your partnership, which ensures the Gait Lab at CURE Ethiopia provides the best, most personalized treatment for our patients. And thank you to our supporters around the world who make it possible for CURE to offer innovative treatments that help children walk and run to the best of their ability!

About the CURE Children’s Hospital of Ethiopia

Established in 2008, CURE Ethiopia performs over 2,500 life-changing reconstructive and orthopedic surgeries every year for children suffering from treatable disabilities. Strategically located in the capital city of Addis Ababa, the teaching hospital has 70 beds and four operating rooms. CURE International uses this facility to multiply its efforts by partnering with The College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa (COSECSA) to serve as a regional learning institution by implementing an orthopedic pediatric training program at the residency and fellowship levels. In addition to world-class clinical service, CURE Ethiopia ministers to the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their communities.

Contact Us

CURE Ethiopia provides physical, emotional, and spiritual care to children living with treatable disabilities. Please contact us if you have questions about becoming a patient or a partner with CURE.

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