Thursday, August 20, 2009

AFCMA Outreach Programme

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I am happy to inform you that our AFCMA outreach programme to the HIV patients in Ho Chi Min city in Vietnam has been a success. Dr Buichi Ishijima (President of Japan Catholic Association), Dr Takeuichi and Father Yamaguchi joined me in this expedition. Our Vietnamese brothers and sisters led by Father John Toai, Dr Chi Lan and Dr Pham had requested that we help them to relocate the present HIV clinic called Mai Khoi Clinic in Central HCMC as the landowner wanted to take back the land.

They needed about USD 30,000 initially. The Japanese Catholic Medical Association via Dr Buichi Ishijima has managed to raise USD 10,000 (donated by Caritas Japan). They have also given Dr Chi Lan USD 14,000 for the purchase of opthamological equipment. The Catholic Doctors Association of Malaysia has managed to raise about USD 6000 from pledges from its members and the Association itself. It will be nice if other member Associations of AFCMA chip in to help by donating towards this most worthy cause.

Our Vietnamese colleagues also have a place 30km outside HCMC which houses the terminally ill HIV patients called The 'Grass House' as the roof is made of attap leaves. Dr Leonard Chan, our Australian partner, had earlier visited this place and called it the 'death shed' due to the terrible living conditions there.

Our AFCMA delegation managed to visit the present Mai Khoi Clinic and also the new location for the clinic. I was fortunate to visit the 'grass house' which is located 30 km from HCMC and is only accessible by motorbike as it is located about 500m from the road.

Some of the photos that we took can be seen on Bubbleshare, and the link will be sent to your e-mail (three albums).

Finally, I am also very pleased to inform you that our Vietnamese brothers and sisters in Christ have decided to form their own national association so that they can become members of AFCMA/ FIAMC and join us in our activities. We have advised them on how to do so accordingly.

Thank you.