Thursday, January 11, 2007

Day 11: Hello from Amy & Stacy

Hello from the “physiotherapy” part of the Mission Peace group!

We’re attaching some photos of the children that we are working with at CanTho Pediatric Hospital, just down the street from the General Hospital where surgeries are being performed.

We are in the beginning stages of developing a relationship with the pediatric physiotherapy department here; they have only been
around for 6 years. This is our 2nd time working with the small team of therapists—only 4, including the lead pediatrician for
physiotherapy. We are spending our time seeing pediatric patients with their local physiotherapist, and we demonstrate our techniques for therapy and attempt to problem-solve with the local physiotherapists and the patient’s family.

The children that we have been working with have physical and cognitive impairments stemming from a variety of causes: cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, birth defects, epilepsy, mental retardation, development delays, genetic diseases, and other unknown causes; very much like the work we do with children in Chicago!

While the patient population is familiar, our treatment approach is different from that taken by the Vietnamese physiotherapists, so we always have a lot to talk about!

We have been very fortunate to receive generous monetary donations from friends and family for this trip, and we have been able to purchase a variety of therapy-related products and supplies that are difficult or impossible for the physiotherapists to obtain here. Some of these products are as simple as specialized bottles for babies with cleft palates, or as complicated as Denis-Brown bars for children with foot deformities. We spend much of our time demonstrating the use of this equipment on the patients.

We will spend 4 days, total, at the pediatric hospital here in CanTho, then we will return to Ho Chi Minh City to work at the Pediatric Hospital #1 for 2 days. In HCMC, we will be seeing patients in open clinic as we do in CanTho, and also giving larger lectures about autism, cerebral palsy, and orthopedic conditions. We have enjoyed being in (relatively) sedate CanTho, and are bracing ourselves for the return to the big, BIG city of Ho Chi Minh.

Thanks for your interest, we’ll keep you posted…

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