Vietnam Time

10/8/2018 10:18:06 AM

Seven int’l doctors sustain humanitarian effort in Vietnam

An Italian doctor has returned to Vietnam for the tenth time to conduct operations and provide examinations for children suffering from genital malformations.

Dr Roberto De Castro (third from right) and his colleagues arrive at the Children’s Hospital 2 in HCM City on October 5. Photo courtesy of "Thiện Nhân & Friends" programme

Dr Roberto De Castro and seven of his colleagues arrived in Ho Chi Minh City on October 5 to perform 18 surgeries and provide examinations for some 80 children.

They volunteered to come to Vietnam under the “Thiện Nhân & Friends” programme, a genital reconstruction programme for children initiated by the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP) in 2011.

HCM City is the final destination for the doctors this time. From September 20 to October 4, they performed 42 surgeries and examined 190 children in Hanoi and the central city of Danang.

The total cost of this year’s mission is USD 115,000, coming from various donors.

It includes travel, accommodation and food expenses for 300 families from throughout Vietnam, travel expenses for the eight surgeons, as well as medical equipment, supplies and medicines donated to local hospitals.

Over the past eight years, 400 surgeries, costing some USD 40 million, have been performed under the programme. Some 1,350 children have been examined.

Speaking on the medical mission, Dr Roberto De Castro said: “It is now a major part of my life. I never expected my fate to bring me here but now I am in love with the country, the people, and especially the children who need my help.”

“I am proud of our accomplishments so far, and the 400 children who have received my surgery. These operations change the lives of the entire family and the child,” he told Vietnam News.

“I am striving to train and teach as many young Vietnamese surgeons as possible, to take over my work for me eventually,” he added. “I am not so young now! This is my vision and hope.”

The “Thiện Nhân & Friends” programme was started following De Castro’s successful operations on Phung Thien Nhan, a boy abandoned by his biological mother at birth and mauled by wild animals. He was adopted by journalist Tran Mai Anh, who launched the programme with AIP.

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