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Dr Julian Eason, shares his experience of teaching in Vietnam. Going to work in any country but your own can put you out of your comfort zone. My initial fears were unfounded as I was welcomed into the ‘Newborn’s family’ and met with so much enthusiasm at Phu San Hanoi, Hospital. I knew that the neonatal programme at Vietnam National Children’s Hospital had been a great success and luckily for me the doctors at Phu San were very happy to welcome me on board. What a pleasure to have such willing and engaging doctors who soaked up information like sponges. My first month at Phu San left me exhausted but delighted at how keen everyone was. I hoped a seed had been planted of what was to come, and I knew that as each new UK educator arrived, they would be staggered by the welcome and quest for knowledge.
Returning many months later for a second visit I saw dramatic changes had already taken place. The doctors, with support from Newborns and the Hospital Board, had help shaped a new neonatal unit using knowledge they had gained on how to improve the care for vulnerable newborn infants. The desire to learn was ever present, and the questioning had become much more in depth, often using impressive English to communicate. On third teaching visit I saw that they had grown even further and were confident to make changes in their clinical practice. All aspects of neonatal care were taken on, not only passing the ‘Newborn Life Support’ resuscitation course, but wanting to teach it themselves and spread the word to other hospitals. I was proudly shown new equipment and practices that were just dreams a year before.
Change is one thing, but maintaining the momentum is always a challenge, and I see no let up in the quest for quality care. The thirst for knowledge remains and even with our Covid hiatus we remain in close contact online to help attain even better outcomes for Vietnamese babies.
Equally impressive are all the amazing sponsors who support the work of Newborns Vietnam. So much achieved and so much more that will be achieved. I can’t wait to return.
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