Hung Hoa Caritas promotes health care for the poor of the diocese
The Catholics initiative focus on eyesight problems in remote, backward areas where there are no specialists. In a few days 1,035 visits, 228 short hospitalizations, 126 102 cataract surgeries and other operations. The local population is "happy and grateful."

Hanoi (AsiaNews / EDA) - Hung Hoa Diocese Caritas has organized a humanitarian mission to the poorest population of the province of Lao Cai, in the northwest of Vietnam, along the border with China. In particular, the Catholic organization focused on health care issues, in a mountainous and inaccessible region, where there are no doctors or adequate facilities to meet the needs of the population. The current province of Lao Cai was created twenty years ago by a partition of the province of Hoang Lien Son and is among the poorest and most underdeveloped in the country, the conditions are difficult and resources limited. Available health care is backward and poor with little or no medicines available to the public.

To access medical treatment, most of the time the people have only two alternatives, both extremely onerous: or they must cross the border and be hospitalized in China, or the journey towards Hanoi, and hope to be able to find a bed in a hospital in the capital. And almost no one has the economic resources to deal with the expense.

This is the reason that led the Catholic volunteers of Caritas Hung Hoa to meet these needs in a practical way, starting from a first project dedicated to eyesight issues which are widespread in the region. With the help of benefactors from the association of the Merciful Heart of Jesus, and the generous collaboration of some ophthalmologists, April 2 to 7 last they launched an eyesight care campaign in a clinic in the province. The initiative was launched by the director of the diocesan Caritas, a priest, a curate from the parish of Lao Cai, two nurses from the Institute of the Sisters Lovers of the Cross and other two lay nurses.

The success of the charitable project was proven by the turnout: in a few days the doctors made 1,035 visits, 228 short hospitalizations, 126 102 cataract surgeries and other interventions for eye tumors. According to local sources, there were "many quick and successful surgeries" and patients are said to be "pleased and grateful", thanks to medicines distributed - for free - to the community.

Hung Hoa diocese was created in 1960 out of a huge area of ​​almost 55 thousand square kilometers in the north, on the border with China and Laos. It counts 198 thousand Catholics, 3.12% of the more than six million inhabitants. They include many ethnic minorities, especially Hmong. In 2003 4,635 baptisms were celebrated, although there are only 24 priests for its 80 parishes. Since March 2011, it is under the pastoral care of Bishop Jean-Marie Vu Tat, before then auxiliary in the same diocese.