11/19/2020, 10.51
VIETNAM
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Ho Chi Minh City: free healthcare for the poor and disabled

About 2 thousand people - including 500 disabled people - receive free medical examinations (visual, dental, heart, joint, neurological and gastric) and a breakfast, to celebrate the World Day of the Poor. The work of Fr Antonio Nguyen Ngog Son.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews / EdA) - At least 2 thousand people, poor and disabled, received free treatment, medical tests and a breakfast last November 15. The gesture was organized by Catholics and volunteers from the archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City, to celebrate the World Day of the Poor, wanted by Pope Francis, which this year is in its fourth edition.

Various people arrived to a school centre in the city throughout the day, in particular 500 disabled people, coming from 22 Catholic or Buddhist reception centres.

Fr. Antonio Nguyen Ngog Son, is vice president of an association that deals with the disabled and orphans. And he explains: "We wanted to offer free care to these most precarious people as a gesture of charity, to mark the World Day of the Poor". The association also deals with health and social issues.

Fr. Son explains that the people who came were given eye tests as well as dental, heart, joint, neurological and gastric examinations. The treatment of each patient cost about 350 thousand dong (12.77 euros), but all were examined for free also because - as Fr. Son points out - none of these patients would have the ability to pay.

 “I am really grateful to Fr. Son and his doctors, who made it possible for me to receive free treatment,” says Anne Nguyen Huong Tho, a Catholic from Ban Co. The woman suffers from arterial hypertension and varicose veins, but has no opportunity to see a doctor. She earns only 3 million dong a month (about 109 euros).

Fr. Son was director of Caritas Vietnam. He explains that in Ho Chi Minh City, the largest metropolis in the country, there are at least 167,000 physically disabled and 13,000 orphans who need the support of the local community.

The priest is trying to spread this style of free medical visits to other regions of the country as well. Last month, he organized a day in An Giang province, offering about 1,000 residents medical tests, clothes, rice, instant noodles and school materials. Next month he hopes to organize something similar in Ben Tre province.

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