Since 1996 Project Vietnam has brought medical mission teams to rural provinces generally in March and November, at times when the Vietnam weather is relatively mild. The groups provide three types of services:
- Free operations to restore normal appearance to children with congenital facial deformities (mostly cleft lip & palate, a prevalent problem) and/or to correct eye defects (strabismus, cataracts, etc.). Our surgeons work with local specialists to update them on new techniques.
- Medical examinations and treatments at rural clinics and schools, and oral health services for school students. Vision care is offered for students with custom corrective glasses and reading glasses for the elderlies. Screening for Anemia (Hemoglobin) and Glucose is provided as well as Malnutrition assessment.
- Training for health personnel at all levels (hospitals and rural clinics, children’s hospitals and academic centers). The team updates local health staff on Pediatrics (perinatal and newborn health, emergency care, development and behavioral pediatrics and specialty topics), Cardiology (Rhythm problems and Interventional procedures), and Medical specialties (Pulmonary & Infectious diseases)
- Public Health and development of sustainable programs (clean water and environmental health with treatment of anemia and malnutrition).
The work lasts one week for the Surgery, Public Health and Primary Care teams based on a single location of work. Typically the schedule is 7AM-5PM daily, at the main province hospital for the surgery team, and visiting a different locality everyday for the Primary Care team. The Dental team sets up and works within the Primary Care team, at a school site usually. Patients will be provided with medicines mainly purchased in Vietnam to ensure continuity of treatment. The medical team collaborates with local health workers so that followup care can be planned for patients in need. Our volunteer teams seek to incorporate appropriate technology such as Ultrasound at point of care for Primary care.
Participants stay at local hotels (usually 3 stars or more) and all accommodations, transportation and meals are arranged by the group, starting with pickup at the airport. The land cost is about $1000 for one week and $2000 for 2 weeks. A working permit/visa is required which is obtained by Project Vietnam. Physicians and healthcare personnel, engineers, technical people and handymen, volunteers with humanitarian passion can apply. Non-medical volunteers provide essential support for our medical mission trips, and PV will endeavor to assign volunteers to work most appropriate for their skills.
Because of the diversity of areas of assistance, volunteers are needed to help the various teams in management tasks, patient relations, assisting physicians and dentists, supplies control & distribution, support work and translation if Vietnamese-speaking. Because of the absence of local resources, patient transport, registration, instruction etc… are all done manually and offer opportunities for wonderful interactions with the children and their families.