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National awards highlight wealth of talent in Viet Nam

Update: November, 24/2014 - 09:14
Deputy Director of the National Hospital of Endocrinology, Tran Ngoc Luong, at the Vietnamese Talents Awards 2014 ceremony. — Photo dantri.com.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — Four years ago, Tran Ngoc Luong, the deputy director of the National Hospital of Endocrinology, surprised his Malaysian counterparts with a surgical method he deployed for patients with enlarged thyroid glands.

The Malaysian experts had learned the technique for treating thyroid gland enlargement from counterparts in Japan and Thailand for years, but they did not have much success. It was through some international medical seminars that they discovered Luong's technique.

By January 2012, the schedule of courses for foreign doctors to learn endoscopic thyroid surgery with Dr. Luong had been filled up until July 2013.

This year, he is going to train doctors from the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, India and Saudi Arabia. Courses in 2015 are for Indian and Pakistani doctors.

Luong's accomplishments were recognised on November 20 this year as he stepped on the stage to receive a the second prize in the Medical and Health category at the Vietnamese Talent Awards for pioneering work in endoscopic thyroid surgery.

The technique he introduced costs US$400 compared to the world average of $7,000-10,000.

Luong said he was saddened on seeing young women having to bear long, ugly scars on their necks after the operation, and he was determined to find some way to avoid it.

He started to research various endoscopic surgery techniques and came up with a unique method of his own that is now named after him.

To achieve the perfection that he has today, Luong spent many sleepless nights over six years figuring out a better way to get to the thyroid gland.

At first, he tried to get to it through the cervical tube, but this still left patients with small scars on their necks. Then he carried out about 100 operations getting at the gland through the breast, but this also left him dissatisfied. Although the operations were successful, young woman were left with some nasty looking keloid scars on the back of their necks.

Then the idea of operating through the armpit struck him.

The method proved ideal as it was easier to control post surgical complications and left no scars. Gradually, over more than a thousand surgeries, he honed the technique to its current level.

Other talents

For 10 years now, the Vietnamese Talents Awards has been helping people nurse their dreams and realise ideas by honouring the work of inventors in various disciplines.

The top winners are granted a trophy and cash prize of VND100 million ($4,760). Nguyen Thien Nhan, the chair of the Central Committee of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, said this year's winners reaffirmed the creative potential of Vietnamese people.

The winner in the Potential IT category was New Generation Open Source Technology JSC, with its creation of a professional integrated management network for services and infrastructure. The product can sync pretty much everything on an intranet system, balancing internet traffic, adjusting firewalls, and managing service charges.

The 1st prize in the Successful IT category went to the 8-bit SG8V1 chip developed by the Integrated Circuits Design Research & Education Centre (ICDREC) of the National University in HCM City. This multipurpose chip can be used for products in agriculture, industry, transport and national defense.

The 1st prize in Applied Science for Mobile Phones category was given to ZooStudio for their MoneyLover, a Personal Financial Management app.

In the Medical and Health category, the first prize winner was Professor Le Thi Luan, deputy head of Centre for the Research and Production of Vaccine and Biologicals (Polyvac).

Her work on rota virus infection has made Viet Nam the second country in Asia and fourth in the world with the capacity to self-produce the vaccine against the virus. — VNS

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