Young doctors dedicated to improving people’s health in difficult areas

Tuesday, 2018-02-27 17:45:58
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Doctor Do Phuong speaks with a child’s relative at the Pac Nam district health centre in Bac Kan province.
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NDO – Following their graduation in 2017, 14 young doctors have begun working in mountainous and remote districts in Dien Bien, Lao Cai, Bac Kan and Son La provinces, under the project on bringing young volunteers to work in disadvantaged areas (Project 585).

In addition to being directly involved in providing healthcare check ups and treatments in difficult cases, the doctors have also contributed to improving the lack of high-quality human resources and promoting the practice of justice in the healthcare sector in their working areas.

Born in Thanh Hoa province, Do Phuong was recruited to the Vietnam National Hospital of Paediatrics and received a 24-month training course at the Hanoi Medical University before being sent to work at Pac Nam district health centre in Bac Kan province.

During his first few days at work, the young doctor was concerned about the downgraded medical facilities and the difficulties in people’s living conditions there, which urged him to question how to care for the health of poor people.

One day when the temperature outside dropped to less than 10 degrees Celsius, a child came to him for a healthcare examination while wearing a thin shirt. Many times doctors have to facilitate their poor patients with medical expenses, food and drink. Some patients even told doctors that they had to be discharged from the hospital after only a few days of being hospitalised because they had ran out of money for treatment.

While in other localities, a doctor may take 10-15 minutes for a health examination, Phuong has to spend up to one hour for the work because his patients speak Tay, Mong or Dao ethnic languages. As they can not clearly describe their medical symptoms, Phuong has to seek help from his colleagues and their relatives.

Embracing the difficulties, after seven months at work, Phuong has joined the medical staff at the health station to detect and timely handle many cases, including children that have congenital heart defects and congenital nephrotic syndrome.

One of his most memorable experiences during his seven-month work in the district was providing emergency aid at 1 am for child patient Cao Ha Nhien in Na An hamlet, Xuan La commune. Nhien, a one-month old baby, was in a state of shortness of breath and the family was very anxious and desperate. Initial consultation showed that the baby was identified with severe pneumonia.

While the doctors were carrying an emergency plan for the child, the family insisted on moving the child to a provincial hospital, which is 150 kilometres away from the medical centre and would take at least four hours to get there. Not to mention that the road was so rough that it would endanger the baby’s life.

Phuong had to convince the family to keep the baby at the medical centre, promising that if there was no sign of recovery the baby would be promptly sent to the provincial hospital. Fortunately, the child responded to the treatment regimen so well that he was discharged a week later.

Graduating at the same time as Phuong, Pham Van Tuan was sent to Ba Be district Medical Centre in Bac Kan province. He has been appreciated by both the locals and his colleagues for his initiatives in improving health check-ups and treatments, as well as his dedication at work.

Tuan has successfully applied new medical techniques and handled difficult cases in his branch of paediatrics, as well as others including obstetrics and cardiovascular. Sharing the difficulties with poor patients, he has spent his own money to buy food for them many times.

According to Director of Bac Kan provincial Health Department Nguyen Dinh Hoc, the presence of professionally trained young doctors has helped to enhance the qualification of local medical staff and provide high-quality services for local residents, thus increasing the people’s trust in doctors.

Evaluating the initial results on the young doctors sent to the four mountainous provinces under Project 585, Director of the Project, Dr. Pham Van Tac said that the doctors have won the trust of local leaders as well as their colleagues and residents.

14 doctors who were sent to poor districts from August 2017 to January 2018 have mastered medical techniques in such branches as surgery, paediatrics and image analysis. Thanks to them, patients in difficult areas can now receive high-quality treatment in their localities instead of having to travel to big cities for surgery.

He said that as 62 disadvantaged districts are lacking approximately 600 doctors in 15 specialist areas, Project 585 is a breakthrough of the health sector in ensuring sufficient human resources with professional and technical skills to meet the healthcare needs of local people is difficult areas. Local patients are examined and treated in grassroots areas, thus reducing the overload for upper level hospitals.