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July 31, 2009

Viet Nam Medical Assistance Program (VNMAP)

2009 Medical Mission


Newsletter
A Message from
VNMAP
Introduction
This year, the team consisted of eight medical students, two
We are happy to report that VNMAP has had pharmacy students, five translators, one pharmacist, and four physi-
another successful year! With the 2009 medical mis- cians. In addition, help was provided by a local physician as well as
sion trip completed, we would like to share with you
three nurses from Vu Anh International Hospital. Between June
some memories from our two weeks in Vietnam.
14th and June 30th, the team treated patients at nine different sites
Through this newsletter you can read about our team,
our activities, and mission highlights. Also included in the Lam Dong province. Over the course of the nine clinic days,
are pictures from various clinic locations and visita- the team saw over 1,746 patients with medical issues ranging from
tions. We hope that the information detailed in this back pain to serious cases of pneumonia and diabetes. Several dif-
newsletter will capture the moments and memories ferent congenital conditions were also seen. In addition to providing
that we will never forget. medical care, we also held educational classes which consisted of a
wide range of health topics.

The team also had the opportunity to see much of the beau-
tiful Lam Dong country side on bus rides to the clinic sites as well as
experience some of the culture when venturing out into the markets
on break days. Following our clinic days, we returned to Sai Gon
and went to a few different charity locations. We visited the New
Village Clinic, the Vu Anh International Hospital, a nursing home
that cared for needy elder, and a leprosy camp.

Throughout the trip, medical care was provided to the best


of the ability of the team to our patients. We were delighted in re-
turn with the appreciation and thanks from them. It is important to
mention that without the help of the donors, Vietnamese volunteers,
the Red Cross, team physicians, volunteers, and medical students,
this trip would not have been possible.

Daily Activities: June 14—June 30, 2009


June 14th The first day of our stopped for breakfast at a site that also had a waterfall. Upon
mission trip. We had our first arriving in Da Lat we had dinner and prepped for our first day of
team dinner at the Nhat Binh clinic.
hotel and officially met each
other. The rest of the evening June 16th Our first day
was spent packing supplies for of clinic was in Gan Reo
clinic. and we saw 238 pa-
tients. Many of these
patients were very poor
and were in need of the
medical care that we
June 15th We woke up early in the morning in order take a bus up were providing.
to Da Lat City in the Lam Dong province. On the way, we
Daily Activities [Continued]

June 17th Clinic was held in Darahoa where we saw 191


patients.

June 18th At the third site, this one in K’Ren, we treated


177 patients .

June 19th The Buddhist Monastery in Dinh An was a


wonderful place to see patients. We saw 192 patients,
played with the orphans that live there, and ate a deli-
cious vegetarian meal prepared by some of the residents
of the Monastery.

June 20th On our break day we visited Dreaming Hill


near Da Lat where we took in the sights and enjoyed the
music and crafts. From there, we visited the XQ Embroi-
dery Factory.

June 22nd At Hoai Duc we saw 201 patients with a vari-


ety of illnesses ranging from the legitimate to patients
wanting to experience what it is like to have an American
doctor.

June 23rd Gia Lam was our third to last site and at this
location we saw 181 patients. When we finished clinic we
visited a Buddhist temple and waterfall, both of which
were beautiful.

June 24th On this day we visited Dalanta Waterfall near


Da Lat as well as the Truc Lam Temple.

June 25th We worked at a two story red cross facility in Dong Thanh and saw 194 pa-
tients. At this site there was one gentleman who had such a severe case of pneumonia. He
was then told to go to the hospital to receive IV antibiotics, because the oral antibiotics
that we would have given to him would not have cured him.

June 26th Our last clinic site was at Me Linh and we saw 198 patients.

June 27th On this day we took a plane from Lam Dong to Sai Gon in the morning. We
arrived and promptly went to an HIV clinic where we observed an operation and ate a
nice lunch with the clinic doctors and staff. Following the clinic we visited an interna-
tional hospital, which is where several of the nurses that volunteered with us worked.

June 28th We visited a nursing home in the Cu Chi District and kept the elderly at the
facility company for a good portion of the day. The hope was that our company and the
ability to have interactions with visitors would brighten their spirits.

June 29th This day we visited the Binh Minh Leprosy Camp to help provide food to the
residents as well as learn what it is like to live as an individual who has had leprosy in the
past and is now suffering with the results of the disease.

June 30th This was our last full day in Vietnam and we were able to explore Sai Gon and
try to experience the sights and sounds one last time before heading back to the United
States. We said our goodbyes that evening at a team dinner and then parted ways the
following morning.

Page 2
Mission Highlights

Providing Health Care


Despite limited resources, we the team physicians who then clinics, we saw a wide range of
strived to provide quality care to write off the prescriptions or diseases from typical body ache
the best of our ability. Each makes necessary recommenda- to congenital heart complica-
clinic day was set up with a basic tions for further treatment. With tions. Although we were not able
flow so that we could see all the the majority of patients, we were to cure all of our patients, our
patients who were there in a able to provide them with 1-2 presence and attentive care to Joshua Sloan examining a patient
timely manner. Patients first months supply of medicine. We them were much appreciated.
registered at the information made sure they were aware of Some patients hugged us while
desk, then they were seen by their conditions and how to go others simply smiled. The joy on
triage where vitals were taken, about treatment and/or preven- their face was worth all the hard
then they are seen by a medical tion in the future. With patients work.
student assisted by a translator. who were had chronic diseases,
After initial diagnose is made, the education was our first priority.
students then consult with one of Throughout our nine days of

Our hardworking pharmacist Sydney Tran

Educational Programs & Health Surveys


checking prescriptions.

In addition to providing health care, and Child Care gave us a chance to clarify any
VNMAP team members also gave pres- misconceptions. At the end of each presenta-
entations on a number of different health tion, we held an interactive Q&A session to
topics. Topics such as Heart Diseases, get the audience involved. We were delighted
Skin Cancer, Mental Health, and Gastro- with many questions and comments from the
intestinal, were very interesting to the audience.
patients because they were learning a lot
Finally, patients who came into the clinics
of new things. Other more specific topics
filled out health surveys which will allow us to
such as Hepatitis, Malaria, Pneumonia,
closely study the health trends in the region.
and Tetanus were crucially important as
Data will be included in the mission report.
they are prevalent among the population
Esther Pak and Minh-Van Tran talking to the patients we served. More familiar topics such as
about Family Planning. Nutrition, Family Planning, Dental Care,

Visits to New Village Clinic, Nursing Home, and Leprosy Camp


Upon returning to Sai Gon, we The following day, we visited a Lastly, we visited a leprosy vil-
visited a private free clinic who nursing home run by a Catholic lage where victims of leprosy now
saw poor patients for free. The Sisters of the Teresa Calculta live. Although they have been
clinic accepts HIV/AIDS patients Order. The 60 elders there have cured of the infection, their
who had been rejected by hospi- been abandoned by their fami- physical deformities prevent
tals in the city. The staff include lies. During our visit, we got to them from entering society. We
employees and volunteers who talk to many of the residents and presented each family with rice
have overwhelming passion for hear their stories. We also pre- and ramen noodles. We also went
their work. sented the Sisters with a mone- to visit a few individual families
tary present as a token of our who could not make it to the VNMAP team members helping to pass
out rice to the residents of leprosy camp.
compassion for the residents. village meeting.
Page 3
VNMAP 2009 Medical Mission...in Pictures

“This trip made me reexamine my life


priorities. It made me appreciate more
the ‘luxuries’ I have enjoyed thus far in
life. It replenished my faith in people’s
inherent compassion for each other. It
was truly a humanitarian mission that
crossed borders and transcended
religious beliefs, skin colors, and
ages. It was stitched together by those
wonderfully luminescent beings out of a
basic desire to help, share, and care for
those in need. I was so fortunate to be
part of this splendid mission.”
-Bao-Uyen Dang,
Vietnamese Nurse

"Yes, this was a place [where we came to


help] where only kindheartedness and over-
whelming compassion for humankind could
be conceived! Let us open our hearts, shar-
ing with one another the fond gaze and hu-
man warmth, to relieve some of the pain in
our sick bodies. "

-Minh-Tan Tran,
VNMAP Volunteer

Acknowledgements
The success of our 2009 Medical Mission Trip to Vietnam could not have been made possible without the help of many people. We are very
thankful for all of the financial support from the donors. In addition, many individuals donated supplies for us to bring to Vietnam, which we are also
grateful for. Furthermore, the trip would not have been successful without the experience and expertise of the team physicians as well as our team
pharmacist. Especially, this year, we have built a strong collaboration with and received a lot of help from our partners in Viet Nam: the Duc Trong
and Lam Ha Provincial Red Cross’s physicians and members, and the medical professionals from the Vu Anh International Hospital in Sai Gon that
have joined us in the trip. Lastly, we would like to thank the many people that volunteered their time in the United States to those that were involved
in coordinating efforts in Vietnam. Without the contributions of all of these people, the trip would not have been as successful as it ultimately was.
Thank you, all, for your tremendous help and support in making the 2009 Viet Nam Medical Assistance Program Mission Trip a huge success.

Our Deepest Gratitude,


The VNMAP Organization