Free clinic in Can Tho helps poor patients hinh anh 1Poor patients wait for their turn to have a medical checkup at the clinic (Photo courtesy of Can Tho Charity Clinic)

Can Tho (VNA) – A free-of-charge clinic in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, has been much praised by local people, particularly the poor.

Established by Dr Tran Van Tot some 12 years ago in Hung Loi Ward in Ninh Kieu District, the clinic has examined, consulted with and given treatment to thousands of patients including those with serious ailments such as diabetes.

Huynh Thi Kieu, 76, said, “Thanks to the clinic doctors I escaped from blindness, a side-effect of diabetes.”

Dr Tran Thị Lan said, “Kieu was faced with cataracts. She should have been operated on, but she also faced serious diabetes, so we told Kieu’s daughter to look after her carefully and help her to take medicine to lower her glucose level until it was stable. Then she was able to have her eyes operated on safely at Hoan My Hospital.”

Because of the operation, Kieu’s eyes have now returned to normal, said Lan.

Apart from giving treatment to locals in Can Tho, the clinic’s medical workers travel to the neighbouring provinces of Hau Giang, Tien Giang and Vinh Long to treat poor patients.

Nguyen Van Tuong, 62, in Hau Giang, said he was very happy to be treated free at the clinic where the staff members always smile at him, enthusiastically take care of him, and treat him very effectively.

“My chronic cough has been much reduced,” said Tuong.

Another patient, Hoang Thi Hong, 70, visited the clinic from Vinh Long Province. She experienced a lot of back pain, but because of a lack of money, she could not receive treatment at a hospital. Then recently she heard about this clinic.

Hong has been carefully treated by Dr Dang Van Hieu who said Hong did not suffer any major ailments, only the usual degradation of her backbone due to old age.

Dr Hieu wrote her a prescription for some medicine and asked her to return to the clinic in two weeks.

Hong was very happy because she could have her back pain treated free, and just as important, the behaviour of the medical workers at the clinic was very nice.

“I feel much better after receiving their treatment,’ she said.

Pham Hong Minh, 55, in Can Tho’s Thot Not District, praises the clinic as a good example for others to follow. Patients do not have to wait in line and doctors do checkups very carefully with a smile on their faces.

The 200sq.m clinic has rooms to deal with cardiovascular cases, children, and a room for ear, nose, throat and skin cases, according to Dr Tran Van Tot, who is head of the clinic.

In his memoirs, Tot wrote, “After retiring in 2000, I continued working in Tan An Ward. I joined a group of seven members to help the elderly receive free cataract operations at Can Tho General Hospital. During that time, I often thought about setting up a clinic for the poor.”

“In 2005, by chance and luck, I met two overseas Vietnamese who lived in Australia, Vo Van Tam and Quan Van Cam, at the house of a friend. Upon hearing my idea of setting up a free clinic for poor patients in Can Tho and the surrounding area, they agreed to donate 15 million VND per month for the clinic, and gave an advance of 100 million VND to start up the clinic’s activities.”

Tot said, “In the first years we had to move our clinic from place to place due to a lack of land. In 2011, Ngoc Diep, head of the management board of the To Dinh Chieu Minh Cao Dai (Caodaism is a religion in Vietnam), agreed to lend us 200sq.m of land and donated 50 million VND to us so we could build the clinic.”

“In addition, I have asked my friends and relatives to donate us more money to build the clinic. As a result, it was finished in February 2011, and has treated many hundreds of patients free of charge,” said Tot.

The clinic has also received help from the Can Tho authorities and other donors; however, increasing numbers of patients each year have caused difficulties such as a shortage of medicines and equipment.

Dr Tot has called on local and foreign donors to continue assisting the clinic, “for us to have the conditions to promote medical checkups for poor patients in Can Tho and other areas in the Mekong Delta”.-VNA