Med students’ mission toVietnam

HELPING OUT: University of Newcastle medical students Hannah Coleman, left, Sara Berry, Jazmin Daniells, Peter Eaks, Mitchell Deck, Emerald Comerford, Michael Taylor and Kimberley Neubeck are off to Vietnam on an aid trip. Picture: Jonathan CarrollHUNTER medical students will mark the end of their third-year exams by flying to Vietnam to treat people in one of its poorest regions.

Student Hannah Coleman said the group of 10 from the University of Newcastle’s medical school would spend a month in Vietnam, visiting a different community in the Mai Chau valley each week.

The valley’s communities, some of which are accessible only by foot, live a traditional lifestyle, have basic health care and lack essential resources and trained health professionals.

‘‘I think it will be a very rewarding once in a lifetime experience,’’ she said.

Ms Coleman said the group would bring with them toothbrushes, asthma kits, sterile surgical kits, birthing kits and other basic equipment and while in Hanoi would buy toothpaste, soap, antibiotics and vaccines.

‘‘We want to ensure every kid gets a toothbrush, toothpaste and a bar of soap,’’ Ms Coleman said. ‘‘We’ll be mostly providing a public health role, teaching them about things like brushing teeth, basic sanitation and washing hands, which is so simple but can save thousands of lives.’’

The group will have a Hanoi-based doctor and interpreters with them to communicate with villagers.

Ms Coleman said the group would depart for Vietnam on September 28.

Anybody who would like to offer tips, unused medical equipment such as blood pressure cuffs or battery-free items for children such as stickers, toys or chalk can contact Hannah on Facebook.