By SIMON CHONG
THE day has finally arrived for
the guests to attend the opening of the upgraded Linh Nam Polyclinic
in Hanoi, after much waiting, owing to its postponement from last
June because of the SARS outbreak last year.
Led by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon, a delegation from Singapore witnessed God's goodness and grace on the people of Vietnam through this project. The Singapore team included the Rev Dr Clarence Lim, the MMS Director; Ms Ong Bee Eng, MMS' Deputy Field Director; the Rev Juliette Arulrajah, MMS' Home Director; Mr Kim Seah, TRAC Lay Leader; Mr. P. Sathiasingam, Chairman, TRAC Board of Finance; and Professor Tan Cheng Lim, a member of the MMS Medical Committee.
Also present at the event on Feb 12, 2004 were Mr Tan Seng Chye, Singapore's Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr Nguyen Quang Thu, Director of the Foreign Affairs Department in Hanoi, and Prof Le Anh Tuan, Director of the Hanoi Department of Health.
This work was introduced to the Methodist Missions Soceity (MMS) two years ago by Singapore's former Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr Toh Hock Ghim. He had invited the MMS to give assistance to upgrade the building and facility so as to give better healthcare for 70,000 Vietnamese living in that area.
Besides a donation of US$50,000 (S$82,500), for the upgrading of infrastructure, the MMS has pledged to send doctors regularly to train the local staff.
Linh Nam Polyclinic, one of 17 in Hanoi, is located in the south of the city. It is situated along a busy road where there is frequent flooding and a high incidence of traffic accidents.
The Vietnamese health authorities regard polyclinics as strategic health centres which provide medical, midwifery, public health and emergency services to nearby communes consisting largely of poor farming communities.
While being taken to view the upgraded facilities, I saw some mothers in a small ward, resting with their newborn babies next to them after their delivery.
I noticed a sense of joy, tranquility and security surrounding them. This is what we have set out to do -- to provide the people with satisfactory basic healthcare, and for them to experience the joy, comfort and peace of Jesus Christ each time they visit the clinic.
As we leave the clinic, I caught sight of the mango tree I noticed during my first visit almost two years ago. Then, I said we would surely eat the sweet fruits from the tree when we would return for the opening, signifying the completion of the project. Alas, it was not the mango season yet. There were no fruits on its branches yet. There was a tinge of disappointment and sadness as I departed.
However, it was quickly replaced by a hope that it would soon bear fruits. I just have to wait patiently. Isn't this true of our ministry in Vietnam? Pray with us!
Simon Chong is the Methodist Missions Society's Country Coordinator for Vietnam.
Cutting the ribbon to declare open the upgraded Linh Nam Polyclinic are Singapore's Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr Tan Seng Chye (centre), flanked by Bishop Dr Solomon (left), and Mr Nguyen Quang Thu. -- Methodist Missions Society picture.