A First-Hand Observation on VNAH's Work by a Board Member
VNAH's program was honored to host the visit of Shep and Hiep Lowman, Members of the Board of Directors of VNAH and HelathEd during their recent visit to Vietnam. Shep participated in on one of our outreach projects to provide prosthetic assistance to amputees and below are his observations:
An Amazing Sight
It was an amazing sight! Busses, bringing disabled from all around the region, were arriving at the Vietnamese Red Cross™ local Chau Doc headquarters located at the foot of Nui Sam (Sam Mountain). There was already a crowd milling around the registration desks when Hiep and I arrived with Ca Tran, President of Vietnam Assistance for the Handicapped, at about 8:00am on January 23, 2007. This was a registration and measurement event. Over 450 patients seeking help arrived in the early morning and another 120 arrived in the afternoon. Over half of these had never had professional help. Many who came had concerns with which VNAH could help. Those who would be better served at another time were counseled and sent home early. For example some seventy applicants were better qualified for wheelchairs; such as double, above the knee amputees and some polio patients. These will be helped at a pending wheel chair event. Those qualified for prosthetic limbs were seen by a team of experts from the government prosthetics center in Can Tho, which worked long and hard to take measurements and make molds needed for the making of prosthetic limbs. In fact, the crowd was so great that the team had to extend its stay in Chau Doc by an extra day.
Of course, VNAH™'s policy work is extremely important, touching the lives, quite literally, of millions of Vietnamese disabled, but an event such as this puts one face to face with the needs of the disabled in Vietnam and fires up the old advocacy engine. Don't let anyone tell you that such needs have by now been satisfied in Vietnam.
SHEP LOWMAN, VNAH BOARD MEMBER
Hiep & Shep Lowman (seated far right) join local Red Cross volunteers and Buddhist monks at the outreach project in Chau Doc