Cardiac Mission to Choray Hospital in
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, October 2009
Click here to read the full Report by Robert M. Jarrett, MD – President Hearts Around the World, Inc. describing the trip during October 16th to October 24th.
(This PDF will open in a new window.)
Inaugural Medical Trip to Vietnam.
One of the important elements of success in this model is the fact that
it begins with a level of care, respect and commitment that is rare for
other international organizations. While building these can take time,
the outcomes for lasting change merit the effort. Dr. Jarrett and his
team know that they must work one country at a time. For now, the country
they are focused on is Vietnam. Just as in Russia, Vietnam has a large,
under-funded, centralized medical infrastructure with hard working but
under-trained medical teams and an enormous gap between the care needed
and the care received.
Choray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City is a 1,400
bed facility that daily attempts to meet the needs of 2,800 patients.
Specific to cardiac care, there is a list of 3,000 people waiting for
surgery who cannot afford the procedure. Unfortunately, doctors can currently
only perform 200 operations a year on patients who require financial
assistance. Adding to this growing need is the fact that rapid urbanization
is less supportive of healthy life styles. More than half of the men
in Vietnam smoke and the cost of purchasing cigarettes is large relative
to the per capita income of $726 a year.
Diets have also changed with
the healthier fish, rice and vegetable traditional diet being replaced
by the Western fast food diet of fat, salt and sugar. Experts have warned
that these changes are making cardiovascular disease a much bigger challenge
than previously thought. Finally, childhood strep infections, which are
easily treated in the West with antibiotics, more often result in rheumatic
fever in Vietnam. This means that more people develop rheumatic heart
disease with its resulting valve damage.
Poor dental care also adds to
the increase in heart disease and can often be the result of poor diet
and hygiene. Clearly, as in Russia, the need for more training, mentoring
and support is needed in Vietnam.
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Hearts Around the World, Inc. sponsored its first international medical
program to Saigon, Vietnam on November 7th, 2008. Dr. Jarrett led a four
person team which worked at Choray Hospital - a 1400 bed tertiary referral
hospital serving 40 million people in South Vietnam.
Dr. Jarrett on this mission were Dr. Jeremy Asnes, a pediatric interventional
cardiologist at Yale University, Nancy Rollinson, a pediatric cardiac
nurse practitioner and Dr. Alicia Chaves, a pediatric cardiac fellow.
helped teach the Vietnamese physicians some of the latest techniques
of repairing congenital heart defects with catheter techniques rather
than open heart surgery.