Giang (Jayden) Duong and I (Nicole Ngoc Bui) will be going on a medical mission to Vietnam this year with VMCO. We are trying to fundraise as much money as possible to be able to buy more medications, and medical supplies for the underserved people of Vietnam and also to donate to orphanages. Therefore, the sole purpose of this fundraiser is to raise money for medical supplies that VMCO will bring to Vietnam in May 2014.
Dear friends and families, please help us as much as you can. Any donation, no matter how big or small will be greatly appreciated!! Pictures and daily blogging which reflect our activities during the Vietnam Mission this year will be updated this Jun-2014. Thank you so much for your support!!!
Vietnam Mission 2009 Highlights
Mercer on Mission 2009 From a Student's Prospective
The Vietnamese Medical Charity Organization is a non-profit charity organization established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2013. VMCO's mission is to help aspiring healthcare professionals become aware of different healthcare systems outside of the United States. We hope to enhance the participant's awareness of the disparity and need for medical care in developing countries through our annual medical mission trips. We want to promote the development of leadership and problem solving skills; to raise awareness of various public health issues; and to advocate the collaboration of different medical fields to create positive outcomes in order to benefit those in need of medical assistance.
Vietnam, located in Southeast Asia next to Laos and Thailand, is 127,881 mi2 with a population of approximately 90.3 million people. Vietnam is the 13th most populated country in the world. Forty-two percent of Vietnam's topography is rainforests and forty percent is mountains. Some major cities in Vietnam are developing but the majority of Vietnam are still in poverty with many of its' people living well below the poverty line. They typically work to get by on a daily basis.
Vietnam is an agricultural and laborious country. According to the Department of Labor and Development of Can Tho, infectious disease has steadily declined but orthopedic illness has continued to rise. This rise is due in part to the harsh labor and improper gait and posture such as squatting. Squatting puts an increased burden on the knee when transitioning from a sitting to standing position.
Currently there are approximately 100,000 amputees living in Vietnam. More than 80% of these amputees cannot afford to have custom-made prosthetics. Many of them are limping on their stump. These patients are very creative and make use of everyday items to make their own custom-made prosthetics.
About VMCO's Work:
Each student is given the opportunity to work closely with the general public, mainly with orthopedic illnesses, and amputees. In addition to the medical examination, gift baskets of basic amenities were provided such as: rice, ramen noodles, laundry detergent, and seasonings. Volunteers also visited nursing homes, disability and rehabilitation centers, and leprosy colonies. We held charity events and donated medical supplies to their facilities.
The team visited local medical clinics and hospitals, as well as nursing homes, orphanages and Di Linh leprosy colony in Saigon, Can Tho, Dong Thap and Vung Tau. They treated more than 1,500 patients, assisting in the fitting of over 200 prostheses on amputees. They also donated more than 450 gift packages containing 5 kg of rice, noodles and other supplies
VMCO provided 1700 patients with multiple vitamins, antipyretic, analgesic, nutrition supplements, or antifungal creams during our June 2012 medical mission. In June 2013, there were 265 amputees who were fitted with prosthetics and 1700+ were medical orthopedic patients.
During the orthopedic clinic patients were given Vitamin B-12 injections or corticosteroid/lidocaine injections to relieve the inflammation of their orthopedic illnesses.
"We did traditional pharmacy dispensing activities and patient counseling, but we also conducted more advanced clinical activities, such as checking vital signs, injecting medications, assisting with translation and, most uniquely, assisting with the fitting of prosthetics," said Ruchalski, who blogged about his Vietnam experience at crinvietnam.blogspot.com
Ruchalski said that working 13 hours a day in 105-degree temperatures provided the pharmacy students with a unique opportunity to gain non-traditional experience.
"Sometimes, what the students traditionally think of as pharmacy is a temperature-controlled environment in the United States where you are dispensing medication, counseling patients or performing clinical pharmacy activities," he said. "This had some of that, but it also had lugging kilos of rice, sawing a metal prosthetic or pulling on a patient's legs so a doctor can manipulate their spine."
Clinical Professor of Pharmacy Practice Charles Ruchalski, who served as the faculty sponsor for the trip, and students Thao Nguyen, Montano Recinto, Chi Tran and Hang Nguyen teamed up with faculty and students from Mercer University School of Engineering in Macon, Georgia, for the month-long medical mission.
VMCO's mission is:
1. To help aspiring healthcare professionals become aware of different healthcare systems outside of the United States.
2. To enhance awareness of the disparity and need for medical care in developing countries through our medical mission trips. 3. To promote the development of leadership and problem solving skills; to raise awareness of various public health issues; to advocate for the collaboration of different medical fields to create positive outcomes in order to benefit those in need of medical assistance.
All donations are going directly to the mission,
and not to students' trip expenses.
- Emily Ta
- Trang Bui
- Oanh Phan
- Larry Byrd
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