Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — An Italian doctor has returned to Việt Nam for the 10th time to conduct operations and provide examinations for children suffering from genital malformations.
Dr Roberto De Castro and seven of his colleagues arrived in HCM City on Friday to perform 18 surgeries and provide examinations for some 80 children.
They volunteered to come to Việt Nam under the “Thiện Nhân & Friends” programme, a genital reconstruction programme for children initiated by the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP) in 2011.
HCM City is the final destination for the doctors this time. From September 20 to October 4, they performed 42 surgeries and examined 190 children in Hà Nội and the central city of Đà Nẵng.
The total cost of this year’s mission is US$115,000, coming from various donors.
It includes travel, accommodation and food expenses for 300 families from throughout Việt Nam, travel expenses for the eight surgeons, as well as medical equipment, supplies and medicines donated to local hospitals.
Over the past eight years, 400 surgeries, costing some $40 million, have been performed under the programme. Some 1,350 children have been examined.
Speaking on the medical mission, Dr Roberto De Castro said: “It is now a major part of my life. I never expected my fate to bring me here but now I am in love with the country, the people, and especially the children who need my help.”
“I am proud of our accomplishments so far, and the 400 children who have received my surgery. These operations change the lives of the entire family and the child,” he told Việt Nam News.
“I am striving to train and teach as many young Vietnamese surgeons as possible, to take over my work for me eventually,” he added. “I am not so young now! This is my vision and hope.”
The “Thiện Nhân & Friends” programme was started following De Castro’s successful operations on Phùng Thiện Nhân, a boy abandoned by his biological mother at birth and mauled by wild animals. He was adopted by Trần Mai Anh, who launched the programme with AIP. — VNS