Project HOPE volunteers have taken part in the U.S. Air Force Pacific Angel humanitarian mission to Vietnam, providing medical, dental and optometry care and education to people in underserved communities.
Nine HOPE volunteers provided women’s health support and health care education at Xuan Lam Primary School, where classrooms were transformed into a temporary treatment facility for the local community.
Patrick L. Shipley, head of the HOPE mission in Vietnam said cultural exchanges are a large part of what makes Pacific Angel such a special program.
“Put yourself in the shoes of some of the Vietnamese people we cared for. Imagine being able to see after years of blurred vision or to have a mouth free of pain after a degraded tooth has been extracted,” said Shipley.
“Many of the people seeing HOPE volunteers and other caregivers have had little or no professional care. The mission’s optometry team estimates that nearly half of the patients they see need cataract surgery,” he said.
More than 5,400 Vietnamese received medical care during the eight-day mission. It was HOPE’s fourth mission with Pacific Angel, a 13th U.S. Air Force-led operation that supports the U.S. Pacific Command’s capacity-building efforts by partnering with government and non-governmental agencies to assist local citizens.
Project HOPE volunteer Dr. Kathryn Bowen, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Arizona in Tucson, examined hundreds of children during the mission. “This is my first mission with Project HOPE, but not my last,” said Dr. Bowen.
The mission also included engineering programs in which U.S. Air Force engineers refurbished the Xuan Lam Medical Clinic and installed new medical equipment and supplies provided by Project HOPE.
Project HOPE volunteer, Ha Nguyen, a certified nurse midwife grew up in Vietnam before moving to the U.S. and studying for her nursing and midwife degrees at UCLA. Her language ability was a great asset during the mission, which enabled her to reconnect to her own cultural roots.
About Project HOPE Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now conducts land-based medical training and health education programs in more than 35 countries across five continents. www.projecthope.org
Geraldine Carroll Tel. 540.257.3746 firstname.lastname@example.org
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