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✈️🧳IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON RAPID REDUCTION OF FLIGHTS FROM VIETNAM

The Embassy in Hanoi and Consulate General in HCMC of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on March 20th announce:

The Embassy in Hanoi and Consulate General in HCMC of the Kingdom of the Netherlands advice all Dutch tourists and other non-essential visitors in Vietnam to leave Vietnam as quickly as possible. 

The number of commercial flights to travel from or via Vietnam to the Netherlands is increasingly rapidly declining.

As of next week, the number of commercial flights from Vietnam will be very minimal or not available at all. When you are in Vietnam now or in transit, you are advised to access the information channels (website, hotlines of desks at airports) of your airline or travel company as soon as possible, so you can leave as quickly as possible.

ATMs still work in Vietnam. You can also transfer money via WesternUnion.

We would be grateful if you could spread the word to others who might not be up to date yet.

We advise all Dutch people who are still in Vietnam to register themselves, so we can reach all Dutch people in case of emergency https://informatieservice.nederlandwereldwijd.nl/

The travel advice can be found in the Travel app (in Dutch: Reisapp van Buitenlandse Zaken) or here: https://www.nederlandwereldwijd.nl/…/viet…/reizen/reisadvies

Questions? Call +31 247 247 247 or send an email to han@minbuza.nl

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Guidance on stopping the spread of COVID-19

Vietnam’s latest guidance on stopping the spread of COVID-19 is now available in English.

Issued by the Ministry of Health of Vietnam on March 19, the series gives detailed instruction on self-isolation, centralized-isolation and preventative measures.

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Vietnam suspends visas for foreign travellers starting March 18

In light of coronavirus spread concerns, Vietnam will temporarily suspend visa issuance for foreigners entering the country for a period of 30 days starting Wednesday (March 18).

More information:

https://vietnamnews.vn/society/653733/viet-nam-suspends-visas-for-foreign-travellers-starting-wednesday.html

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Zoom in on a life-changing project in Binh Dai (Ben Tre province)

In over the last 10 years, in Binh Dai District, Ben Tre Province, there is a project that has been providing life-changing instrument for thousands of women to rise against poverty…

From poverty to financial independence

In the past, Ms. Truong Thi Phuong (born in 1972) and her husband, residents of Phu Thanh Hamlet, Phu Vang Commune, Binh Dai District, Ben Tre province used to made a living out of a small vegetables garden and some seasonal jobs, which generated a modest amount of income.

Despite being diligent, they still struggled to make ends meet. When their children got into college, the couple were over the moon but also extremely worried. The kids would have a brighter future than their parents but how could they manage to pay for their four-year tuition fees and other expenses in the city.

Ms.Truong Thi Phuong and her grocery store.

Phuong’s family life came to a turning point in 2015, when she became member of the Women Union of Phu Vang Commune and began to get accesss to the Micro Credit and Saving project, implemented by the Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV) and sponsors.

With the loan provided by the project, Phuong and her husband shortly sleeved up to find their ways out of poverty. Part of the cash was spent on poultry rearing, while the rest was invested in launching a small grocery store.

“At the beginning, due to my lack of experiences, we faced a lot of challenges”, Phuong recalled.

Fortunately, thanks to active participation in science and technology transfer workshops held by local Women Union, Phuong and her husband soon acquired fundamental knowledges in farming as well as doing business. Step by step, their ‘startup’ started to yield profits, providing a stable source of income, and at the same time, could be used as capital to feed new investment.

After several microcredit cycles, following the advices of project staff and the senior members of local Women Union, Phuong bought a cow which later gave birth to two calves. After deducting all costs of rearing, they earned around VND tens million annually.

Since the rearing was not time-consuming, Phuong’s husband spent the rest of his day on some part-time jobs such as bricklaying, fishing, which earned him VND few hundred thousand per day.

After 5 years of participating in the Micro Credit and Saving project of Binh Dai district, Ms. Truong Thi Phuong and her husband have filed for crossing their name in the poor households list.

From the bottom where the couple could not make ends meet, now they have secured stable and sufficient income. As the two children have graduated from colleges and have found jobs, the family is free from worries about livelihoods. Their old wobbly house has been renovated into a fully furnished one.

Phuong also has more time for community activities. She is very enthusiastic about sharing her experience in doing business with her neighbors, fellows, and lending supports to those in need.

“‘A stitch in time saves nine’, more than anyone, I understand what it is like to live in poverty. At the moment, I am willing to help anyone in need”, she said.

Striving from the bottom, she is always grateful for what the Micro Credit and Saving project and her fellows have done to support her.

Freshwater security against salinity

Ben Tre is severely affected by saline intrusion. Illustration photo: VNA

Located in the Mekong delta region, Ben Tre is severely affected by saline intrusion. Even local water plants are affected with salinity of 2 grammes.

Located on an islet, Binh Dai district’s four sides were surrounded by rivers and seas, making the area more vulnerable to saline intrusion (high salinity, deep intrusion level). Local residents are facing huge challenges as saline intrusion negatively affected agricultural production and daily life.

In the fierce battle against salinity, Binh Dai district was lucky enough to receive aid from the Micro Credit and Saving project. Along with providing loans to support livelihoods, the project has also assisted poor, nearly poor, and disadvantaged households to build water containers and purchase rainwater and freshwater storing tanks for daily life and production.

Ms.Nguyen Thi Kim Oanh and her water container.

“In 2016, I registered for a loan of VND five million to build two 4m3 water containers; the costs for materials and workers was around VND six million …” , said Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Oanh (Tan Long hamlet, Thanh Phuoc commune).

According to Oanh, thanks to the project, her family could store enough freshwater to use for the whole year. In the dry season, the family consume more well water therefore they always have extra stock of rainwater.

Being aware of the benefit in the long run, in 2018, Oanh continued to take a new loan of VND five million to build two 6m3 water containers, the two cost around VND seven million.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao (born in 1985) lives in Vinh Tan hamlet, Vang Quoi Dong commune is another beneficiary of the project. Thank to the 6m3 rainwater, freshwater container, her three-member family now can feel secured during drought season.

 “Because saline intrusion occurs every year, I decided to build container to store rainwater or freshwater for daily use. In 2016, I filed for a VND five million in 24 months to build two containers. I was thrilled as they were so helpful. Without them, we would have had to use saltwater like the previous years, which negatively affects sanitation. I am going to borrow some more to build another two containers. If salinization persists, I am afraid that there will not be enough freshwater…” 

  • The Micro Credit and Saving project in Binh Dai district was launched by MCNV and sponsors in 2009.
  • The project has been expanded to 11 communes and townships, providing financial services and facilitate socio-economic inclusion for over 5,000 disadvantaged and poor women, supporting household economy development, response to saltwater intrusion and new rural development.
  • The project has so far provided 954 households with loan to construct their own water containers. From the beginning of the year, 149 households have received the supports, leading to more registration for loan. 
  • Nowadays, the project has become financially self-sustained, and is being conducted with the permission of the State Bank of Vietnam, Ben Tre provincial branch.
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Donor tour 2020 cancelled

Unfortunately, this week we had to decide to cancel the donor tour in April.

It is very unfortunate and sad for all who were so much looking forward to this trip. Donors, as well as the MCNV colleagues in Vietnam and Lao PDR, were so enthusiastic about receiving the group and showing them around.

An analysis (see here) prepared by Pham Dung (MCNV Director Vietnam), and previous discussions about the current situation in Vietnam and in the Netherlands, have led to the decision that MCNV does not want (and cannot) take any risks and can’t bear responsibility for carrying out this trip under these circumstances.
This is the responsibility for (the health of) the participants and tour management as well as for MCNV employees and other people in Vietnam and Lao involved in the organization of the journey.

In the coming period and of course with a caveat to Corona developments, we will look at possible travel dates later in the year. Of course we’ll keep all the fun ideas – as planned for this trip – until another time in 2020!

Tom Fluitsma (tour guide) and Karin Vlug
For additional information: karin@mcnv.nl

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Skill training benefits members of credit groups in Binh Dai (Ben Tre province)

15 credit group leaders and prospective clients of the Micro Credit and Saving project in Binh Dai district, Ben Tre province have recently completed a 3-day workshop on microfinance skills.

The three-day workshop equips trainees with relevant knowledge and skills.

The training aims to provide trainees with relevant knowledge in micro credit, including the access to loan, financial services and the effective use of capital, contributing to poverty alleviation and economic development in the locality.

During the three-day workshop (February 17-19th), local-based project coordinators helped 15 trainees gain fundamental understanding of ‘credit’, ‘credit group’ concept ; provided guidance on how to develop, manage and coordinate credit groups as well as introduction to Microfinance (purpose, target clients, loan policy, etc).

The workshop also included a Q&A session, in which the trainers provided answer for trainees’ enquiries on how to solve the problems they encountered while leading/participating in a credit group.

In addition, the trainees were also instructed on bookkeeping, as well as other skills in a field-trip to learn about credit management in real life.

Better financial knowledge and skills can help change the lives of many women and their families.

“We expect that all of the trainees will become helpful assistants of Binh Dai district project management board in the time to come”, said Ms.Vo Thi Be Hai, Deputy Head of the Project management board.

  • The Micro Credit and Saving project in Binh Dai district was launched by MCNV and sponsors in 2009.
  • The project has been expanded to 11 communes and townships, providing financial services and facilitate socio-economic inclusion for over 5,000 disadvantaged and poor women, supporting household economy development, response to saltwater intrusion and new rural development.
  • Nowadays, the project has become financially self-sustained, and is being conducted with the permission of the State Bank of Vietnam, Ben Tre provincial branch.

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Donor tour 2020 fully booked!

Our next tour, taking place in April 2020, visiting several project sites in Vietnam and Lao PDR and touring the amazing nature of both countries, is fully booked already.
Interested in joining our next donor tour in 2021? Send an email to reis@mcnv.nl and we will keep you informed!

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order MCNV calender 2020 now

The calender 2020 contains beautiful pictures and an overview of our projects in Lao PDR and Vietnam. Programs for a better health, sufficient and nutritious food and better resilience; all ingredients for a better life.

Order yours by transferring the right amount to IBAN NL07 INGB 0001 70 6415, MCNV, Amsterdam with reference ‘calender 2020’.
1 calender = € 13,75; 2 calenders = € 25,50; 3 calenders = €37,45
All prices including shipping costs.

If you order before November 25, the calenders will be sent before the 30th. After that date, your order will be sent within 3 working days after receipt of the payment.

By buying a calender you are supporting our work in Vietnam and Lao PDR!

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MCNV paves the way for Occupational Therapy in Vietnam

In order to support millions of patients or clients in their social integration and rehabilitation, the Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV), for the last 3 years, has been working relentlessly to nurture manpower in Occupational Therapy, a new profession in Vietnam. 

While Physical Therapy helps improve patients/clients’ physical functions, Occupational Therapy (OT) helps improve their independence in daily routine and work, taking account of each individual’s health condition and the characteristics of surrounding environment.

In the world, for hundreds of years, OT has been an essential part of rehabilitation, playing a significant role in helping patients/clients re-integrate into society and reduce disability. 

However, in Vietnam, professional OT training had not been provided until the year of 2015. OT was only practiced in major hospitals and mostly by overseas students and volunteers. When patients were discharged, it was almost impossible to continue OT services at home, whilst to those who have just recovered from stroke, victims of accidents, or the handicapped, doing simple tasks like eating, bathing, moving around, etc, are big challenges.

Embark on a new journey

Aiming to meet with the urgent demand for OT in Vietnam, in 2015, a 5 – year project on Development of Occupational Therapy Education in Vietnam was initiated by MCNV. The project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Humanity & Inclusion (HI) and Albert Waaijer Foundation (the Netherlands)

chuyen uom mam nganh hoat dong tri lieu tai viet nam

A practice session for OT students at Manipal Academy of Higher Education. Photo: courtesy of Nguyen Thi Tuyet Ngan

In 2016, together with two lecturers from HCMC Medical University, three lecturers of Hai Duong Technical Medical University (HTMU), Nguyen Khac Tuan, Nguyen Thi Tuyet Ngan and Vu Thi Loan were selected to participate in the project.

As OT is a new profession in Vietnam, the lecturers have to obtain their Bachelor Degree and later the Master Degree in OT overseas, before they can officially teach the subject in their universities. In August, part of the roadmap was completed, since the lecturers graduated from the Bachelor programme in Manipal Academy of Higher Education (India).

Before moving on to the Master programme, the three lecturers are spending time on their internship at HTMU, under the instruction of an OT specialist from the Netherlands. 

Ms. Anna Kuijs, OT expert from the Netherlands instructs lecturers of HTMU in a practice session. Photo: Courtesy of MCNV

Recently, the valuable knowledge and skills they had gained from the Bachelor programme in India was shared with hundreds of students and lecturers on occasion of the World OT Day (Oct 27th) celebration in HTMU.

With vivid examples from first-hand experiences in OT, the three lecturers introduced to students and colleagues various aspects of OT, including the basic concepts to more in-depth topics such as OT application in rehabilitation, mental disorders, pediatrics, group treatment, etc. 

Via various real-life case studies, the presentation, step by step, took the beginners through an exciting tour to explore the world of OT, bringing the profession closer to the students and lecturers, highlighting the practice of OT through simple daily activities, including identifying risks in clients’ home to ensure safety, or re-designing a soup spoon into bigger size to facilitate patient’s self-feeding, etc.

Extraordinary supports  

chuyen uom mam nganh hoat dong tri lieu tai viet nam

Nguyen Thi Tuyet Ngan (second, left) and lecturers, classmates in India. Photo: Courtesy of Nguyen Thi Tuyet Ngan

To be able to completing their Bachelor programme in India, the three had to overcome numerous obstacles. The challenge was not only keeping up with the curriculum, but also adapting to the new living and learning environment, filled with various barriers in language and cultural difference.

The challenge was overcome thank to their own effort and the supports of lecturers and friends in India. 

 “In order to help us understand better, the lecturers often spoke slower in class. Whenever we have any question, they always patiently explained for us. As they were aware of our nervousness, our teachers would include funny stories into their lessons to create a friendly and cheerful atmosphere. When it came to written assignment, our friends and teachers spent time helping us going through our works, to make sure we have adequate understanding of the subject as well as improving English skills,” said Nguyen Thi Tuyet Ngan. 

“In the first few days of our arrival in India, our lecturers even spent a whole day accompanying us to look for proper accommodation”, Nguyen Khac Tuan said.

In addition to the supports from lecturers and classmates, during three years in India, Tuan, Ngan and Loan had received unwavering supports from MCNV.

“The people from MCNV including Country Director Mr. Pham Dzung, OT Programme Coordinator Ms. Trang Tran kept standing by our side throughout the journey in India. To us, they are our dear brothers and sisters, who gave us the strength to overcome all of the obstacles we faced in the last three years. They not only helped us from the very first step of the overseas study journey, but also kept watching us from the distance. They listened to us, provided advices, messaged whenever we needed to encourage us” Ngan said. 

“During the early time in India, my English skills were still limited. This shortcoming affected my social life and study. Thanks to MCNV’s attention, I had the chance to take an extra English course to consolidate my skills”, Vu Thi Loan said. 

After three years studying in India, nowadays, Loan has become a fluent communicator in English. In the World OT Day celebration held in HTMU on October 24, on the stage, in front of mass audience, she successfully fulfilled the role of an interpreter to support OT expert Anne Kuijs connect with the lecturers and students.

The road ahead

Three years in India not only builds a solid foundation in OT for the three lecturers but also instills the passion for this new profession in them.

“OT training is highly useful and beneficial to learners. Before taking the course in Manipal Academy of Higher Education, I didn’t really understand what OT meant, even couldn’t distinguish between physical therapy and OT. Nowadays, I am confident that I have gained adequate knowledge about the foundation of OT. I am particularly keen on the incorporation of Speech Therapy and PT and the patient-centric approach. Via in-depth inter-sectoral collaboration, we will help maximize the effectiveness of treatment, which is our key goal”, Nguyen Thi Tuyet Ngan said. 

chuyen uom mam nganh hoat dong tri lieu tai viet nam

(From the left) Nguyen Khac Tuan, Vu Thi Loan and friends in India. Photo: Courtesy of Nguyen Thi Tuyet Ngan

According to Nguyen Khac Tuan, OT in Vietnam has a bright prospect. “Despite I just provided a few lectures on OT, I can feel the interest the students have for this subject.

Tuan said, what he loves about OT was its simplicity. “It can be conducted without modern, costly equipment or sophisticated techniques.”

“With the client-centered approach, OT pays attention to clients needs, and based on that, guiding them to participate in activities which are meaningful to them in daily life, helping improve health and maximize the level of independence”, the lecturer emphasized.

At the moment, Tuan is helping to build an OT lab in the Rehabilitation faculty of the Hospital of HTMU. Talking about his goal for the future, Tuan said:

According to the World report on disability 2011 by World Health Organization, over 60% of disabled people in developing countries are in need of rehabilitation services. In Vietnam, the number is estimated at 4 million.Each year, two major hospitals of Vietnam, Bach Mai and Cho Ray received around 2,000 case of spinal cord injury, which is critically in need for OT.In addition to manpower building, MCNV is also an active organization in developing OT network, awareness raising, and policy making.

“After completing my Master degree, I hope I will be able to help HTMU build a holistic OT training programme, and enhance cooperation with hospitals, universities across the country, to create a sustainable and widespread network of OT in Vietnam”. 

By Phi Yen

Vietnam Times

In order to support millions of patients or clients in their social integration and rehabilitation, the Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV), for the last 3 years, has been working relentlessly to nurture manpower in Occupational Therapy, a new profession in Vietnam. 

Read more