Our Asia and Middle East Program Manager, Joe Harrison, is currently traveling in Southeast Asia, visiting Direct Relief’s partners who treat people in need of health care and other services. Below is his update from Vietnam.
After leaving Cambodia, my next stop was our partner, the Kim Long Charity Clinic in Hue, Vietnam. The Immaculate Sisters of Mary Magdalene who run the clinic were an absolute delight. They selflessly serve all who enter their facility. I was able to talk with the patients in the waiting room and was encouraged by their stories.
The clinic is outpatient only and sees up to 100 patients a day even though it only has eight beds and is open three days a week. Twenty part-time volunteer doctors cycle through on a regular basis, while a small army of nuns administer nursing care.
They offer dental services, gynecological services, and run a home care program focused on HIV awareness and education. The Sisters also provide in-home palliative care. On the days the clinic is not open, a mobile clinic travels to the rural regions to provide care for those who cannot make the journey to Hue.
Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned about the clinic is that they operate a small bottled-water operation. The water they treat and bottle is tested off-site and widely distributed throughout Vietnam. The revenue helps cover a portion of the clinic’s operating costs.
Despite limited resources, the clinic has a strong foundation and is part of a network of five clinics. There are many challenges when delivering charitable medicines in Vietnam, and Kim Long’s growing success is especially commendable.