Representatives from Citi Foundation, Microfinance and Development Centre and the Hà Nội Centre for Women’s Development Support hand over personal protective and medical equipment support to health station in Mỹ Đức District's Hợp Thành Commune. — VNA/VNS Photos Hồng Minh
HÀ NỘI — Five years ago, all doors to the future suddenly slammed in Hoàng Thị Quyên’s face when her husband, the breadwinner of the family, died in an electrocution accident at work.
All the burdens of taking care for their two sick sons, including one bed-ridden, were placed upon her shoulders.
Now 37, Quyên and her children live with her parents-in-law and a grandparent-in-law who are in their 70s and 90s in a small house in An Tiến Commune in the outskirts district of Mỹ Đức, some 50 kilometres from central Hà Nội.
Quyên cannot work as she has to take care of her 15-year-old son who suffers from serious cerebral palsy and her eight-year-old boy who has Down syndrome.
“Sometimes, I cannot sleep at all because my son is snivelling the whole night long,” she said.
The family’s income depends entirely on the State support of VNĐ2 million (about US$90) per month for Quyên and her children, and sometimes on her parents-in-law’s selling đó, a fish caching tool made from bamboo. Making 100 đó used to bring the family an extra VNĐ1 million of income.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in Việt Nam, no one has come to buy our đó anymore so we have lost that income source,” Quyên said.
She said that sometimes when she ran out of money, she had to buy rice and food for the family on credit. Sometimes her son cried asking for milk or grilled pork but she had no money to spend.
On Wednesday, she was among 20 households in the commune that received food essentials, including 10 kilos of rice, instant noodles, cooking oil and sauce together with medical supplies including masks, mouthwash and hand sanitiser.
“Even though those things are not expensive, they are the necessities that I and my family really need right now,” Quyên said, adding that the rice would help feed her family for the next two months while the masks were of great value as she had wanted to buy them for the family before.
A woman in Mỹ Đức District's Xuy Xá Commune gets support to load the food aid onto her bicycle.
Quyên’s family and 19 others in An Tiến Commune are among 110 households in Mỹ Đức District listed as the most seriously affected by the pandemic to receive the support, as part of the Citi Foundation’s project for COVID-19-related community relief and economic recovery efforts globally.
In Việt Nam, the project is carried out by the Microfinance and Development Centre (M&D) in partnership with the Hà Nội Centre for Women’s Development Support, local authorities and women’s associations in 10 outskirts districts of Hà Nội, namely Mỹ Đức, Ứng Hòa, Phú Xuyên, Thường Tín, Sóc Sơn, Mê Linh, Ba Vì, Thạch Thất, Chương Mỹ and Thanh Oai.
M&D’s Director, Nguyễn Bích Vượng, said besides direct support for the households, the project would also provide emergency assistance for personal protection and medical equipment for grassroots health stations.
According to Vượng, 40 health stations in 10 districts will receive protective cloths, masks, gloves, sanitiser, mouthwash, digital thermometers, blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters, ENT diagnostic sets and phlegm suction machines. Some stations will also be helped with installing hand wash stations, she said.
Research from M&D showed many health stations in poor localities lack full protection for health workers while other necessary equipment is lacking.
“As doctors and nurses at grassroots health stations are those who directly fight COVID-19, they must be protected well enough to be able to help the whole community fight the disease,” Vượng said, adding that all the items were selected carefully based on the need of health stations as well as regulations of the Ministry of Health.
Head of health station in Mỹ Đức District’s Xuy Xá Commune, Nguyễn Thị Kiều Oanh, checks on the phlegm suction machine provided by Citi Foundation.
Head of the health station in Mỹ Đức District’s Xuy Xá Commune, Nguyễn Thị Kiều Oanh, said all the items were much appreciated.
Oanh said as Xuy Xá was a poor commune, all nine health workers at the station had to work very hard to ensure health conditions for some 8,000 local people.
“The protective gear and medical equipment provided like this are practical motivations for all of us to work safely and take care for people’s health with our whole mind,” she said.
Vượng from M&D said besides emergency support for local health stations and people directly affected by COVID-19, the project would also organise 10 training courses on pandemic prevention and community health care for 10 districts.
According to Vượng, the project in Việt Nam was approved very quickly by Citi Foundation within two months. The support was even increased four times higher than the initial plan, showing the foundation’s strong commitment to helping the community, she said.
“We always say Hà Nội is the heart of the country. Once the heart is healthy, the whole country will be healthy to fight and defeat COVID-19,” she said. — VNS