MEDICAL HEALTHCARE TRIP AT VIENTIANE, LAOS
Our mission team comprises of about 50 Malaysians and 100 Singaporeans. The Malaysian team have four paediatricians, one O & G, a Surgeon, four Physicians, four General Practitioners, Dental professor, a Dental Surgeon and Dentists, one Pharmacist, twenty over medical, dental, pharmaceutical and psychology Students, Nurses, a Midwife and other Volunteers to help in logistics and other burdensome organising work. Our medical students are all young and vibrant; they play various roles, such as registration, ushering, preventive healthcare, and errands. The Singapore team comprises of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Optometrists, Photographers and other allied Volunteers. We are also helped by local and expat Translators (about 90 in all), for without their assistance, all work will be impossible. There were also a few local Doctors to assist us.
The Mission was called Humanity And Love Group, an ad hoc rather than a formal organization. It was joint Initiative of Embassy of Malaysia and Singapore in Laos, Vientiane International Hospital Company, and both teams of professionals and students (who paid their own expenses, including air fares, transport, personal insurances, accommodation and food). All volunteers are only allowed to have a maximum hand baggage of 7 kg each; for we had lots of equipment, medicine, lenses, to accompany us.
The Malaysian team arrived two days earlier, on the 16th July, and returned on the 23rd July. We spent a week at Vientiane: Two days of preparatory work, three days of mission work and two day city tour (at own expenses).
The Free Healthcare was conducted at a village school, located at Ban Sok Village, Santhong district, about 80 km away from the city. The school comprises of three old building blocks, with poor toilet and class facilities. The organisers built some new toilets (at a cost of US6K) for the occasion. I was told it took the organisers some three years to plan this mission.
There was great team work among all; the Malaysian and Singapore team and the inter-disciplines referral co-ordinated well. It was an exciting experience to work with so many loving people. In the three days of field work, we saw almost 5000 villagers; gave away 2400 pairs of lenses, 2500 bars of soap, de-worm medications, vitamins and the balances of medicine donated by companies from our home countries. Our breakfast was three slices of white bread, a butter and a jam, and a hard boiled egg, plus mineral water. Lunch was take-away noodles at Rm 10 each and coffee prepared by volunteers.