A child has her health checked up at the military-run clinic in Gia Lai Province. —VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Điệp
GIA LAI — Thousands of households in four border communes of Ia Grai District, the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, get regular health check-ups at a clinic run by military forces.
Military clinic 715, established in 1995, offers health care services to not only those in the armed forces but also local residents.
More than two-thirds of the patients treated at the clinic are from the local community.
The 35-bed clinic was recently equipped with advanced biochemical testing devices, X-ray and ultrasound machines and fetal cardiac pacemakers, increasing its serving capacity to more than 15,000 people per year.
Clinic 715 and health clinics in neighbouring communes often offer free health check-ups and free medicine to households of the poor and those who have served the nation.
Ia O, Ia Chía, Ia Krái and Ia Khai communes where the military clinic is located are remote areas which share a border with Cambodia. Local people previously struggled to access social services.
Puih Khinh, 50, a local from the Jrai ethnic group, said: “Before the clinic was open, many families had health care disadvantages. Now villagers can access better services thanks to the dedicated doctors in the clinic.”
The military doctors focus on preventive health care.
When the COVID-19 outbreak began in Việt Nam, a quick-response team of the clinic visited villages to explain the pandemic's symptoms and preventive measures to soldiers and local people.
The clinic workers also disinfected kindergartens, military bases and other community locations.
Five quarantine zones equipped with protective equipment were set up inside the clinic while medical workers were trained to accommodate people in quarantine.
Dr Lê Văn Lương, head of the clinic, said: “Local people of the four border communes are mostly from ethnic minority groups with limited knowledge about the pandemic. Doctors not only disseminated COVID-19 preventive measures but also told them not to illegally cross borders and get involved in wildlife trading.”
They were also told to report to local authorities if any stranger visited their areas, he said.
As the diphtheria outbreak is peaking now in the Central Highlands, especially Gia Lai, the clinic’s doctors visit households to instruct locals how to cook and eat in hygienic conditions as well as keep their houses clean.
Villagers are told to go to the clinic for health check-ups if they show signs of fever, breathing difficulty or coughing for early diagnosis of diphtheria, dengue fever and COVID-19.
Thanks to the preventive health measures, the four communes have not recorded any diphtheria infections.
Clinic 715 is one of 13 clinics being run by Command 15, a military force of the Ministry of National Defence.
The clinics are located in remote areas where the command units are based.
In 2019, 13 clinics run by the command treated more than 55,000 patients and encouraged local people to donate 666 units of blood to supply hospitals.
Colonel Hoàng Văn Sỹ, head of Command 15, said: “A healthy life is a foundation for local people to be more productive in their work. The clinics have realised dual targets: improving the health of local people in remote areas and at the same time bringing soldiers and villagers closer.” — VNS