Doctor Ban offers conducts a health check on a local person. — Photo tuoitre.vn
HCM CITY — Residents in Tân Thuận Đông Ward, District 7, HCM City have become used to seeing an old doctor riding his bike around the area to visit sick people every morning.
Vũ Kim Ban, a 75-year-old retired doctor, has been doing so for almost ten years since he opened his own clinic offering free health check-ups and treatment for the local community.
No matter how old he is, as long as he has good health, he said he still wanted to help the community because it had a lot of poor people and migrant workers.
Ban used to be a general doctor at a hospital in the north and moved to HCM City after his retirement.
“When I moved to the area near Tân Thuận processing zone, I saw a large number of workers, mostly of whom were from faraway provinces.”
Many poor people living here did not have health insurance. The healthcare centres were not good enough. They had to spend much on healthcare check-ups and medicine, he told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper.
He decided to open a clinic in his home in 2010. At first, he covered half of the treatment expenses. Now all of the services are free of charge.
Ban has a medical hotline which is also his personal phone number which is on all the time.
The old doctor is ready to get up at midnight to assist emergency cases. For other normal cases, he visits people at home in the mornings to check up on those who called him the previous day.
“Some people have a fever, can not sleep or feel chest pains. If I can handle it, I will instruct them how to relieve the symptoms. Otherwise, I will advise them to go to the hospital.”
During ten years of operating the clinic, he's open twice a week and spends more time visiting patients’ houses.
“Some advised me to quit because I am getting old. But the more poor people I met, I the more I realised they really needed trustworthy doctors. I can not give up now.”
Ban is not alone as many local doctors and nurses want to help him to offer health check-ups and treatment.
Ban succeeded in calling on experienced doctors, nurses, many of whom had retired, and pharmacists to donate their medical equipment and expertise.
His clinic now has six doctors, 12 nurses and six pharmacists all working as volunteers.
Now some four drugstores have committed to providing medicine for free.
Thanks to these human resources and materials, Ban’s clinic has been compared to a local mini-hospital.
What makes him more motivated is that his private clinic has been moved from his house to be located inside the local clinic in Tân Thuận Đông Ward, welcoming hundreds of people every month from not only the ward but also neighbouring areas.
About 200 health check-ups and treatment are offered for free every month, with about VNĐ30 million (US$1,300) of medicine given away.
Asked what makes him happy, Ban said poor people do.
“Every time I think there is someone waiting for me, I find more motivation to continue my job. I am happy when I meet someone who says hello to me on the way to work and tells me they have recovered.” — VNS