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Young doctor volunteers to work in poorest district

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It takes nearly seven hours to travel from Muong Lay District to the Muong Nhe District Medical Station, where doctor Nguyen Van Hieu examines and treats local children and other residents.

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Doctor Nguyen Van Hieu was named one of 10 outstanding young people of Vietnam 2017.

The journey is perilous, and many parts of the route have been blocked by landslides after flashfloods in recent months.

Doctor Hieu is well-known among locals. Leaving Hanoi, Hieu volunteered to work in Muong Nhe District. His journey is like a beloved legend about medical ethics in real life. He was named one of 10 outstanding young people of Vietnam 2017.

Taking about Hieu, an owner of a small restaurant in Muong Nhe District smiled and said, “Hieu is specialised in paediatrics. He loves children, and he is a kind person. He buys new clothes for poor children who go to the clinic for health checks.”

Visiting Hieu at work, people can easily see his thoughtful behaviour.

“How is he? Does he breastfeed?” Hieu asks a young couple from Na Co Sa Village in Nam Po District. Their 30-month-old child is suffering from diarrhoea.

Hieu check the child’s heartbeat and breathing, and then makes careful recommendations to a nurse about how to take care of the child.

Another child checked by Hieu is Giang Thi Du Lam, 18 months old. Her father had brought her to the clinic by motorbike at 2am as she was suffering from diarrhoea and dehydration. Her temperature was worryingly low.

Hieu warms her with a heater and keeps her under observation.

Every day, dozens of boarding patients receive careful examination from Hieu. He also encourages the patients and their families.

“I can live where residents live”

Lu Van Xam, 88, a member of the Khang ethnic minority in Muong Toong Commune, Muong Nhe District, has smoked for many years. He now suffers from chronic lung disease and heart failure.

Xam has to go to the medical station regularly when he has difficulty breathing and feels tightness in his chest. Xam receives personal care from Hieu and his colleagues.

Lu Thi Tien, Xam’s daughter, said, “Hieu is a kind person. He is never furious with patients. Whenever my father feels pain, Hieu comes and examine him even when Hieu is sleeping.”

“When my father comes back home, Hieu advises that he should eat meat and vegetables, and avoid fish as it can cause coughing,” said Tien.

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Doctor Nguyen Van Hieu gives examination to 18-month-old Giang Thi Du Lam, from Nam Ke Commune, Muong Nhe District, the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien. 

Hieu graduated from Ha Noi Medical University in 2014, and then worked at the Thanh Nhan Hospital in Hanoi.  

When Hieu heard about the Ministry of Public Health’s project bringing doctors to volunteer in poor districts, he was eager to sign up.

“I volunteered to go anywhere across Vietnam. Where residents can live, I also can live,” he wrote in his application letter.

After two more years of training as a doctor specialised in paediatrics, Hieu went to Muong Nhe, the poorest district of the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien.

Every three months, he returns to Hanoi to visit his wife and two children, one 21 months old and the other four months old.

He faces a lot of difficulties, but Hieu does not forget the ethics of a doctor.

Hieu studies the ethnic minority language from his patients and their families. Now he can speak Mong language and can communicate with his patients. The ethnic Mong minority make up more than 65 per cent of the total population in Dien Bien Province. 

“My biggest hope is that children recover quickly, and are healthy when they get discharged from the medical station,” said Hieu.

On the night before Hieu went to Muong Nhe District, Hieu spoke with his wife.

“We told each other that the journey was long and difficult, but we would strive to reach the destination and volunteer to contribute to a place that needs us,” said Hieu.

Hieu also revealed a plan to move his family to Dien Bien Province, to be closer to the land. Although they are poor, local people have grown to love the generous young doctor.

Source: VietNamNet

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