27 JUNE 2015

Good morning, Vietnam!

Doctors and staff at PCC’s CanHOPE centre in Ho Chi Minh City make special efforts to know their patients well.

Dr Duong Phong Nghi knows every patient at the CanHOPE centre in Ho Chi Minh City by name.

The 48-year-old started the centre 10 years ago and has attended his fair share of parties, as well as funerals, along the way.

Dr Duong said: “I know them so well. They are all like friends and family to me.”

The centre organises a gathering for its patients every Christmas period, where they treat patients to good food at a restaurant. Usually, about 50 patients, family members and staff join in.

“It is just a simple gathering to celebrate life,” said Dr Duong.

The doctor, who specialised in internal medicine, was working with the International SOS before deciding to join Parkway Cancer Centre’s CanHOPE.

“When I was with SOS, I did a lot of medical evacuations, especially to Singapore. So I was familiar with the health system in Singapore and I know how well-regarded and advanced it is,” he said.

“I wanted to give Vietnamese people an option to have better medical care. Sometimes, they don’t know about other options overseas and think that seeking medical help overseas will cost them a lot of money,” he said.

“But they had no one to help them explore options and explain to them about where else they can seek treatment, tell them in detail how much it would cost and so on.”

There is also the language barrier as many of the older Vietnamese cannot speak English well.

“So we act like a bridge for them. We help them communicate with the doctors in Singapore and advise them on how to get the right doctor to treat them,” said Dr Duong.

“When they return to Vietnam, we will connect them with local doctors who can help them do follow-up treatments to cope with side effects or if they have other complications.”

Dr Duong and his five staff members at the centre also help to arrange the patient’s trip to Singapore, including arranging for interpreters, scheduling appointments with doctors and booking their accommodation.

“The most common concern among our patients is the cost and making sure they get the right doctor,” he added. “They expect having to pay more than what they pay in Vietnam but they just want to know how much so that they can be sure they have enough to pay for everything.”


By Ben Tan


TAGS cancer treatment abroad, CanHOPE, dr duong phong nghi