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Paediatrician's Facebook offers free counselling

Update: May, 05/2015 - 09:21
Dr Truong Huu Khanh (right). — Photo tienphong

by Gia Loc

HCM CITY (VNS) — After hours of working his shift at HCM City Paediatrics Hospital No.1, Dr Truong Huu Khanh spends his free time advising parents about their children's health on his Facebook page.

As head of the hospital's Neurology and Infectious Diseases Ward, Khanh offers advice on typical children's ailments and diseases on his fanpage called Hoi Bac Si Nhi Dong (Ask the Paediatrician).

Khanh started the page after receiving many messages from worried parents who had often read misleading information on websites or internet forums.

"I couldn't stop thinking about ways to help them," Khanh said.

The fanpage was set up in late March, he said, adding that parents, especially young ones, need health care consultations.

"They need trustworthy doctors and websites to guide them, especially because both accurate and inaccurate health consultations and remedies are spread on online forums and websites," he said.

The page has attracted thousands of people, receiving 43,000 "likes" in just over a month.

The page receives dozens of questions a day, with most of them related to nutrition, respiratory and digestive diseases, and ear, nose and throat problems.

"Khanh's concise answers make mothers feel more assured," said Tran Thi Gia Linh, of Tan Phu District, who often asks questions on Khanh's fanpage.

The pediatrician is able to answer a broad range of questions as he consults with his colleagues and researches medical reference books.

Apart from answering mothers' questions, he also provides advice on taking care of teeth, choosing suitable shoes for children, deworming and vaccinations, and other issues.

For instance, on April 21, the doctor wrote on his fanpage that his hospital had admitted an 11th-month-old child who had drunk paraffin oil from a bottle, thinking that the liquid was water.

Khanh told the parents that sticking their fingers down the child's throat to induce vomiting could result in a fatality. His advice was shared by 94 readers.

Despite its success, the fanpage has had problems. It was hacked in mid-April, and someone stole Khanh's password later.

Parents who read his fanpage and Khanh's colleagues have offered him help to protect the page from hackers.

One mother, Le Chau Cat Tien, who often views the fanpage, volunteered to set up a website, , which offers a summary of Khanh's answers and knowledge on children's health from the fanpage.

The website, which began on May 3, attracted more than 7,000 people after one day.

"I hope more colleagues will work with me to provide counselling to parents via my fanpage," he said.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said she learned about the fanpage via the media.

"It is very useful to meet parents' needs about children's health. I say thanks to Dr Truong Huu Khanh for spending his time and knowledge on taking care of children," she wrote in a private letter to the doctor. — VNS

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