Friday, July 26, 2013

Ninh Thuận Mobile Clinic #2 06/09/13

The mobile clinic today was much more organized than yesterday. Initially, we as VMO members had very limited ways to help out at the clinic partially because no volunteers were need at the pharmacy. However, we soon figured out ways to busy ourselves. The boy’s clinic was different from the girl’s in that a doctor would check each boy’s foreskin. There were a handful of whose foreskin was not clean, which results in clogging and other complications that may require surgery in the future. There was one case of hidden penis. The boy was overweight that the penis was embedded within his fat, requiring an operation. The doctor demonstrated for the VMO members how to look for the balls and to check the foreskin, and the members were able to do this themselves. After their foreskin was checked, the boys would go to the doctors for a general checkup. The girl’s clinic was set up in similar fashion as the boy’s except the genital checkup.

The children were then sent to a room where Vietnamese-speaking VMO members taught dental hygiene lessons, such as how to brush their teeth properly. One group of children did coloring while the other group listened to the lesson plans.

After, some of the children would go to the dental clinic. Those working at the dental clinic helped the dentists load the syringe for anesthesia and hold down the child for a tooth extraction. While working there, we were able to observe the severity of teeth decay that was so prevalent among Vietnamese children: many had cavities and broken teeth, and on average, there were 3-4 extractions per child. Furthermore, it was calculated that there were about 300 teeth extracted. The dentists would also show us different oral problems the children had and teach us the numbering system for teeth. Any child with a teeth extraction received a toothbrush and toothpaste. Some kids were very frightened from watching other kids cry and scream for dear life at the dental clinic, that they would run away and refuse to come inside. And so, the mom and sometimes one of the VMO members had to chase them down and console them to enter. One boy was resisting so hard that he had to be sat on Andrew’s lap. While the dentist opened the boy’s mouth to extract his teeth, Andrew would embrace him to hold him down. After the procedure was done, the boy just sat on Andrew’s lap for a long time, refusing to leave. To see this was very heart-warming. What we did at the clinic actually did contribute to the people who came to the clinic.

There was also a hair-salon station for free hair-cuts. Even a few of our VMO members got their hairs cut. Four hours of clinic flew by with continuous buzzing busyness. Around noon time, we had home-cooked lunch with all the doctors and volunteers at the clinic. Then after, we left for Saigon.

-- submitted by Sung Won Han, UC Berkeley

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