|Italian and Vietnamese doctors speak before performing free genital surgeries on children with severe urological birth defects and rare urological conditions at a hospital in HCM City. (Photo courtesy of AIP Foundation)
The surgeries are being performed from November 3-22 by Italian surgeon Dr Roberto De Castro and his volunteer medical team from Italy and the US at the Vietnam National Children’s Hospital and Viet Duc Hospital in Hanoi; Da Nang Hospital for Women and Children in Da Nang, and Children Hospital 2 in HCM City.
The doctors are also evaluating another 300 cases in HCM City, Da Nang and Hanoi.
Urological birth defects and rare urological conditions include hypospadias, penile and vaginal agenesis, cloacal exstrophy, bladder exstrophy, partial androgen insensitivity syndrome and Iatrogenic penile amputations.
Since 2011, the programme has been organised by the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation to fund surgeries for poor Vietnamese children along with travel costs and medical supplies.
As part of the programme, local surgeons take part in surgeries with foreign experts to learn new techniques.
Along with the surgeries, four medical technical conferences on pediatric urological and genital reconstruction treatment have been carried out in the Thien Nhan & Friends programme.
Thien Nhan & Friends also provides modern surgical devices and equipment from hospitals in Europe and the US.
The programme was originally established to help the ‘Miracle Baby’ Thien Nhan, an infant boy whose genitals and leg were cut off and severely mauled by animals after being abandoned in a jungle at birth. Over the past eight years, 410 Vietnamese children have received surgery and 1,200 others have been examined and assessed.
Dr De Castro is a world-famous surgeon in pediatric surgery who first operated on Thien Nhan in 2004.