Vietnamese field hospital, MSF save lives in South Sudan

Staff members of Vietnam's third level-two field hospital at the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have recently assisted doctors at a hospital run by the Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders in conducting a successful caesarean section for a mother with severe kyphosis.

Receiving a request from the Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital for support on January 3, an operation team of four Vietnamese doctors was immediately sent to the scene.

The 35-week pregnant woman, 22, was having a fetal distress. Her kyphosis condition as the sequelae of spinal tuberculosis made it hard for doctors to perform the surgical operation. The patient could neither lie on her back in the normal position nor receive spinal anesthesia. Therefore, doctors decided to employ endotracheal anesthesia using a rudimentary ventilator system, with the anesthesiologist team continuously squeezing the balloon by hand during the nearly two hour surgery.

The surgical team delivered a 4kg baby boy who did not cry. After 15 minutes of active neonatal resuscitation, he finally cried out, filling the operation room with joy.

According to Nguyen Thanh Nam, head of the surgical department of the third level-two field hospital, his hospital was facing many challenges due to a shortage of human resources. Some members with COVID-19 were being isolated for treatment and one quarter of the staff was on leave.

Pou James, a staff member at the operating room of the MSF hospital, said he is very impressed with the Vietnamese surgical team for their professional manner and willingness to save the lives of local people.

The UNMISS Chief Medical Officer sent a letter to acknowledge the contribution of Vietnam's level-two field hospital No. 3, asking the facility to continue assisting the MSF hospital in other surgeries.

On October 1, 2018, Vietnam deployed its first level-two field hospital with 63 staff members to the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan in October 2018. The third hospital of this kind began their mission in April last year.

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