Australian Embassy


DATE: 9 November 2009
SUBJECT: Direct Aid Program, Health

New South Wales Governor opens Water Purification Plant at Viet Duc hospital

HANOI - New South Wales Governor and patron of the Hoc Mai Australia - Vietnam Medical Foundation Professor Marie Bashir and Vietnamese Vice-Minister of Health Madame Nguyen Thi Xuyen today opened an Australian-funded water purification plant at Viet Duc Hospital in Hanoi.

The project, managed by the Hoc Mai Foundation, will provide clean water for patients and visitors at Viet Duc Hospital, one of Vietnam’s leading surgery and trauma centres. The project received AUD22,000 (VND360 million) from the Australian Embassy’s Direct Aid Program.

The water purification plant will pump water through a fast-pressurized filter in order to eliminate residues found during hospital and Academy of Environment Technology. The filtering ensures the hospital water meets Ministry of Health standards.

Vice-Minister of Health Ms Madame Nguyen Thi Xuyen said, “Viet Duc Hospital receives many poor and severely traumatised patients. This kind-hearted contribution from the Australian Government and the Hoc Mai Foundation will make a fundamental difference to their well-being.”

Professor Nguyen Tien Quyet, Director of the Viet Duc Hospital said, “The plant which uses water from the hospital well will reduce the cost of running water and improve services to patients. We will never forget the generosity of Hoc Mai and the Australian people.”

The non-profit Hoc Mai Foundation was established in 1998 to improve medical education in Vietnam. Current Hoc Mai projects in Vietnam include maternal and child health training (Dien Bien, Tu Du Hospital) and teaching medical English (Bach Mai Hospital). In 2005, Hoc Mai completed construction of an Australia House at Viet Duc Hospital for relatives and patient carers who had previously slept on the hospital grounds.

Praising Hoc Mai’s work in Vietnam, Professor Bashir said, “The Australian Government and Sydney University are both proud of Hoc Mai’s history of involvement in Vietnam. Water is a giver of life and this treatment plant will provide fundamental health services to Vietnamese patients and families.”

The Australian Government provides additional support to the Hoc Mai Foundation by providing scholarships for Vietnamese doctors and nurses through the Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) Eighty-one Hoc Mai Vietnamese doctors and nurses have received ALA scholarships to undertake short-term study in Australian since 2006.

The Australian Government, through the Australian Aid Agency (AusAID), is also working with the Government of Vietnam to address broader challenges in healthcare. Key AusAID activity areas and current contributions (in AUD) are as follow:
- AUD15 million for health system strengthening programs
- AUD12 million for preventing HIV transmission and giving children access to HIV treatment
- AUD7 million for strengthening responses to emerging infectious diseases.
- AUD3 million for avoidable blindness program currently under development.

Professor Bashir is visiting Vietnam from 8 to 11 November to meet with senior Vietnamese leaders and visit Hoc Mai Foundation projects.