|Photo: Thoi Dai newspaper
Upon giving an address at the event, VUFO President Nguyen Phuong Nga expressed her deep gratitude to Operation Smile for acting as a bridge between Vietnam and the United States for the past three decades, noting that the organisation’s activities can be considered the first steps towards the goal of reconciliation and normalization of relations between Vietnam and the US.
According to the VUFO President, during the reviewed period, Operation Smile has conducted 10,000 surgeries for children with cleft lip and palate, in addition to 22,650 dental treatments.
As well as providing medical support for the country’s youth, Operation Smile has also trained thousands of health workers and developed a group of 200 qualified Vietnamese doctors as volunteers.
Ms Nga also extended her thanks to the Hilton Foundation, a crucial sponsor who have been co-operating with Operation Smile since 1996, adding that the participation of businesses in the health sector will serve to make a significant contribution to allowing disadvantaged people to receive better access to health care.
The VUFO President affirmed that the award also aims to honour the organisation's contribution to the nation’s sustainable development, as well as the solidarity and friendship that it has helped to foster between the Vietnamese and American people.
She added her hope that Operation Smile will continue to stand alongside the country in the future, as well as replicating the successful model seen in Vietnam to other developing countries around the world.
This followed a pledge by Ms Nga to work closely with the organisation and other foreign non-governmental organisations to create optimal conditions for groups to operate effectively, as well as boost co-operation between local people and other citizens across the globe.
Speaking after receiving the certificate of merit from VUFO, Dr. William Magee expressed his love for Vietnam, adding that his family had welcomed a Vietnamese girl who was adopted by Dr. Magee’s son during the visit in 2009.
With regard to Operation Smile's plans in Vietnam in the near future, Dr. Magee said the organisation will continue to help the country conduct humanitarian surgeries, upgrade facilities, and train human resources in the health sector in order to develop a standardised system.
Dr. Magee said he hopes that Operation Smile will continue to enjoy VUFO's active co-operation when going ahead with future projects.