We met Dr. Hai at her clinic in Liege, Belgium, where she treats patients from several countries. They come to her not just when they are ill but also when they have other troubles in their lives.
At our meeting, Dr. Hai said she is seeking sponsors to invite the Central Cheo (Vietnamese popular opera) Theatre to perform for the Overseas Vietnamese community in Belgium on the occasion of this year’s Lunar New Year (Tet) Festival.
“It will help lower the ticket price, so more people can enjoy the show,” she said with her brilliant smile.
The daughter of a very rich family in Ho Chi Minh City before the liberation, she was brought to Belgium to study medicine in 1971 by her father with the wish that she would eventually serve the homeland. She chose family practice as her specialty and waited until after graduation to return to Vietnam.
Always turning her mind to homeland
In 1998, she came back Vietnam many times to see with her own eyes the problems of Vietnamese hospitals. She created projects to help them. A conference linking doctors of Liege Medical University and Ho Chi Minh City’s Medical University in 2003 was the first health care cooperation between Vietnam and Belgium “designed” by Dr. Hai.
Since 1998, she has been often accompanied by leading professors of Belgium’s health care sector when visiting Vietnam to exchange experiences and share the latest technologies with local doctors and treat Vietnamese patients.
She has been deeply impressed by a “family doctor” project launched in Vietnam. The project which annually receives Euro100,000 from Belgian Ministry of Cooperation and Development will run until 2012.
Hai said family doctors are doctors who are professionally trained not only to diagnose and treat illness but also to support Vietnamese medical staff in reducing overloaded work.
Dr. Hai has actively engaged in charitable activities to help disadvantaged people. She recently asked Liege’s clinics and universities to donate medicine and medical equipment worth tens of thousands of Euro to the hospital of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and two provincial hospitals in Vinh Long and Thai Nguyen.
Learning of the havoc wrought on the Central region by storm Ketsana, she and other Overseas Vietnamese collected Euro1,700 to assist natural disaster victims.
Last July, she led a delegation of 30 US doctors and medical students to Vietnam to treat patients and provide medicines and gifts worth US$20,000 to poor households in Hanoi and Thai Nguyen.