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‘Doctor of village’

Lieutenant Hong gives check-ups to locals.

Ia-O was a commune without cultural, educational and health care services in the past ten years. The Jrai people living in eight villages in the commune relied only on soldiers of Border Post 717. Second lieutenant and physician Nguyen Dinh Hong recalled: “During the day, we held literacy classes and at night we came to villages to give medical check-ups to local people.

At times, we were so busy, so we worked as teachers-cum-doctors.”

The first patient of Nguyen Dinh Hong was Ms Ro Lan Soi in Bi village of Ia-O region who was suffering from an acute malaria attack. She was in a critical condition and exhausted. With such a case, local people just left their life to the mercy of fate.

But second lieutenant Nguyen Dinh Hong tried his best to treat her for a fortnight and brought her back from the dead. After that, local people started believing in Hong. They said that from then on, they no longer ‘relied’ on the gods, because there were border soldiers instead. Over the past ten years, he has coped with many different diseases which local people have suffered. In 1996, a cholera outbreak was spreading in the Ia-O commune, the border physician saved hundreds of local people. Later, many families adopted Hong as their son in return for his good work.

In 2001, Nguyen Dinh Hong began giving medical check-ups to 29 leprosy patients’ families in Tang village in Ia-Chia commune. Village chief Ro Mah Pia said that cadre Hong often came there to help local people. However, Hong had also to face many difficulties. To control and prevent the disease, the relevant agencies should pay greater attention to the situation. Mr Hong said that although he could not cure all the diseases for local people, he still came to the villages. Relieving the pain of patients was necessary. He said he hoped that he had enough medical equipment and medicine to help wipe out the disease in the border area. The wish of Nguyen Dinh Hong is also the concern of local authorities of Gia Lai province

VNS - (23/07/2004)

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