The foundation for our first project to help cleft children in Vietnam was laid in 2006. After the first years of basic groundwork, we began cooperating with the aid organization OSCA in the north of Vietnam, particularly the Hanoi-based surgeon Dr. Ai. His skills particularly benefit the rural population in the mountain areas of the North on the border with Laos and China. Many ethnic minorities live here.
Thanks to a cooperation with the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation (NCF) from Taiwan, we were able to further expand our aid in Vietnam ten years later: In 2016, a location was added in Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam. After the first successful years of cooperation, we started a second joint project, our second project in Hanoi, in summer 2019.
The partnership with NCF is guided by the fundamental agreement that a comprehensive and, above all, long-term treatment concept is needed for the best therapy success for our cleft patients. Under the leadership of Dr. Samuel Noordhoff, the founder of NCF, the Chang Gung Craniofacial Center in Taiwan has become the world’s leading treatment center. Our teams in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have this great expertise at their disposal for continuous further specialist training.
Thanks to our dependable, longstanding aid structures in Vietnam, we were able to achieve an enormous increase in the number of operations we were able to provide to cleft children in need in 2020. The gratifying result: 366 successfully completed operations – 158 more than two years ago.
The lead surgeon of our initial project in Vietnam, Dr. Ai, was born to a simple farming family. As the oldest son, he had the privilege of being able to study. He knows the needs of the poor rural population of Vietnam from his own experience. For many years he has been committed to making these people feel better. Thousands of cleft children have already benefited from his skills.
Our partner organization OSCA (Center for Researching and Aiding Smile Operation), based in Hanoi, was founded in 2007 by experienced local doctors, therapists and nurses. Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe has been funding the project in northern Vietnam since 2009.
The experienced surgeon Dr. Ai has been part of the project from the beginning. The particular strength of OSCA is the good networking of project employees and helpers across the country, thanks to which we can also reach affected children and their families who are cut off from any medical care.
In Ho Chi Minh City, our second Vietnam project, our patients benefit from comprehensive and highly qualified treatment as well as the international expertise of our partners (from left to right): Dr. Daniel Lonic (Munich), Prof. Lun-Jou Lo (Taiwan), Dr. Duong Minh Tung (Ho Chi Minh City), Dr. Dr. Denys Loeffelbein (Munich).
Since 2016 we have been running a joint project with the renowned Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation (NCF) in Taiwan to provide comprehensive care for cleft patients in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). The contractual partner and project location is the Odonto-Maxillo-Facial Hospital, an urban specialty clinic for oral and maxillofacial surgery. The leading surgeon on site is Dr. Duong Minh Tung. In addition to surgical interventions, we promote orthodontic and speech therapy treatments in Ho Chi Minh City as well as preoperative NAM therapy for newborns with cleft lip and palate.
We started another joint project with NCF in summer 2019 in Hanoi. The project location there is the National Children’s Hospital. The Munich surgeon Dr. Daniel Lonic initiated the cooperation with NCF. He had completed training and further education as an International Craniofacial Fellow in Taiwan. Together with his colleague Dr. Dr. Denys Loeffelbein he is responsible for the projects in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
Once a year the two are on site and support the teams during particularly challenging surgical interventions. Prof. Lun-Jou Lo, chief physician of the world’s largest craniofacial center at the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan, is responsible for the technical management of the projects and these annual missions.
In Vietnam we can count on many reliable partners – ideal conditions to keep developing our projects and to further expand the number of operations we can provide to cleft children in Vietnam. Please support us so that we can help even more cleft children in Vietnam receive qualified treatment.
Many wars, especially the Indochina War and the Vietnam War, have shaped the history of Vietnam. The wars brought destruction across the country, many people lost their lives. The Vietnamese people are accordingly young today. More than 23 percent of the population are no older than 15 years.
Economic progress is rapid in Vietnam. This is also reflected in a decline in poverty: in 1996, 53 percent of the population still lived below the national poverty line, in 2016 it was only 9.8 percent. As is so often the case, the rural population is does not profit equally from this progress. Above all, the approximately 50 ethnic minorities continue to live simple lives in great poverty.