HÀ NỘI — Every Wednesday morning, patients at Military Hospital 354 in Hà Nội line up to get the hospital's free breakfast.
Lieutenant Colonel Trần Thị Phương Lan, head of the Department of Nutrition, said in understanding the patients' difficulties, the department proposed the idea of giving free porridge to the patients, which was approved by the hospital director.
This charity work started in March 2021.
“On peak days, the hospital receives more than 1,000 patients for examination and treatment. Many of them are undernourished. Their health and treatment results will be affected if they don't have good nutrition," Lan told Quân Đội Nhân Dân (the People's Army) online newspaper.
"Many of them also face difficulties in ensuring daily meals due to impact of COVID-19 pandemic."
Every Wednesday, the department serves 300 cups of meat and mushroom porridge.
"In the beginning, we faced difficulties in serving charity porridge because the department has only four staff. When COVID-19 broke out, we had to bring porridge to each department to give to patients. After getting used to the work, we now take turns to do this job," said Lieutenant Colonel Võ Thị Thanh Hải.
In recent months, a volunteer group heard about this hospital's meaningful activity and came to help them.
Every Tuesday afternoon, four women in the Department of Nutrition buy ingredients to prepare for cooking early the next day.
They start cooking at 4 am and serve the meal at 6 am.
Dương Thị Dung, from Bắc Giang Province, the mother of a kidney dialysis patient at the hospital, said the free porridge cups have become something that they look forward to every Wednesday morning.
To take care of her daughter at the hospital, Dung applied for a cleaning job at the hospital.
"The military doctors are very nice and they take care of the patients wholeheartedly. The cups of porridge make me and my daughter feel better and warms up our hearts," Dung said.
Lieutenant Colonel Lan said they are happy to help people in difficult circumstances. And fortunately, the fund for this charity activity is also supported by many individuals and organisations.
"To maintain this charity work, the staff in the Department of Nutrition have made great efforts. For patients, a cup of porridge is not only a material thing but also a spiritual encouragement, helping them to recover quickly," said Colonel Phạm Minh Đức, the hospital's director.
The department also plans to offer free drinking water for outpatients when they come to the hospital. — VNS