05/08/2006, 00.00
VIETNAM
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Dong Ha parish offers health care services for 10,000 patients in a year

by Thanh Thao

Dong Ha, a parish of Ham Tan District, Phan Thiet Diocese, has  health care services and they have offered  counseling and pastoral services to over 10,000 patients within a year.

Saigon (AsiaNews) - Over 10,000 people have been treated by a parish within a year. This is Dong Ha, belonging to Phan Thiet Diocese, 150km north of Saigon.

The parish priest of  Dong Ha parish told AsiaNews: "We implement the teachings of the bible in our lives. This has brought good results for all members of the parish and community; reducing  social problems in the area by 80%. Last year we cured over 10,000 patients suffering from different diseases. Basing ourselves on Vietnamese traditional medicine, we have helped many patients to recover from illnesses, even serious  cases".

The Parish is located in a community of over 6,000 people, among a population of 1,200 Catholic people, with 30 ethnic groups and supported by 14 groups who share the Word of God  every day. Brother Son  said: "People come here from different religions: Catholic, Protestant, Buddhism and not belonging to any faith. We welcome everyone in the area. They are workers, farmers, students, the poor and even doctors, lawyers and state teachers etc. They come for pastoral service, attending Church for peace of mind and to be treated physically."

Mr Cuong shared his opinions: "I am an ex-seminarian. After the revolution in 1975,  I was dismissed from Hue Seminary. Doing not knowing what to do, I entered Pagoda to learn Vietnamese traditional medicine for many years. I am also a member of  a group sharing the Word of God in the parish. It is my moral support."

One social worker told Asianews: "One of reasons causing social ills in society is poverty, poverty in the economy and poverty in morality too. To treat modern diseases, we have had groups sharing the Word of God for the poor, unlucky children, teenagers involved in social ills, and for 100 cases living with HIV/AIDS. We are confronting discrimination in the society, because we are Catholic."

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