After emerging from years of war and political isolation, Vietnam endured years of economic stagnation. With economic liberalization, the country has enjoyed relative economic stability in recent years. But the challenges to the health sector remain at the forefront, particularly in rural and impoverished communities. Critical health issues:
- High rates of maternal mortality, pediatric malnutrition and childhood disease
AmeriCares sends critical medicines, medical supplies and nutritional support to help Vietnamese families and their young children. We partner with the Giao Diem Humanitarian Foundation to help provide health care for the poor in communities in Southern and Central Vietnam. AmeriCares also delivers medical aid for network of hospitals and clinics throughout central Vietnam. (Images of our work in Vietnam)
One could say AmeriCares was born in Vietnam. On April 4, 1975, a U.S. jet carrying 243 Vietnamese orphans crashed into the jungle outside Tan Son Nhut. A third of the children burned to death, many of the remaining victims were critically injured. Soon after, the Pentagon announced it would not have the resources to rescue the children for 10 days.
As the world waited, one business man took action – AmeriCares founder Robert C. Macauley. He chartered a Boeing 747 airplane and flew to Vietnam to rescue the young survivors. Within 48 hours, the children were safely in California.
The rescue was a success, but Macauley now had to deal a $250,000 airplane charter bill. To cover the expenses, Mr. and Mrs. Macauley took out another mortgage on their home. "A fair trade," his wife Leila commented, "the bank got the house and Bob got the kids."
Born of compassion and audacity, this mission set the stage for today’s AmeriCares. Since 1988, AmeriCares has donated over $55 million worth of critical medicines, medical supplies and humanitarian aid to Vietnam. (read more about our history and our founder, Bob Macauley)
In 2011, the worst flooding in half a century left millions of people in Southeast Asia struggling to survive amid widespread destruction and food shortages. AmeriCares responded with emergency aid to address additional nutritional needs through its Pediatric Nutrition Program.
In 2009, Typhoon Ketsana made landfall in Vietnam, killing over 150 people and severely damaging 250,000 homes.
AmeriCares worked with local partner The Giao Diem Humanitarian Foundation to ensure local children received emergency supplies of nutritional supplements to stave off the severe malnutrition that is so common in the aftermath of disasters.
Typhoon survivors were also helped by a delivery of ongoing medical aid valued at over $1 million. The shipment contained items of high impact in the relief efforts—pain relievers, personal hygiene items and equipment to help doctors diagnose patients.
Studies show that among Vietnam's poor, the rural poor, particularly ethnic minority sub-populations, are far more likely to be malnourished than the urban poor. That's why AmeriCares has partnered with Abbott since 2005 to support the Pediatric Nutrition Program – a school-based feeding program that reaches nearly 5,000 children.
The program provides families with nutrient-rich foods and supplements which can be easily added to typical Vietnamese meals. Community engagement, education and evaluation help keep children on track with the program. Malnutrition rates have dropped steadily since the beginning of the program, now down to 18% among participating children. (Read more about our Pediatric Nutrition Project)
To reach rural communities, mobile medical teams of 40-60 volunteer physicians, pharmacists and nurses travel to treat patients who would otherwise lack access to medical care. AmeriCares donated medicines and medical supplies to help the teams treat up to 1,000 patients each month. Read More »
AmeriCares also donates medical products to qualified U.S. health care professionals who are traveling to Vietnam to provide charitable medical care. Through this program, donated medicines and medical supplies reach impoverished and isolated communities where even basic medical care is inaccessible to the poor or often non-existent. AmeriCares donations cure infections, relieve pain, help patients manage chronic diseases and make life-changing surgeries possible. Since 1992, products valued at almost $3 million have been donated to the Medical Outreach Program in Vietnam.
Recent News from Vietnam
Forty years ago Bob Macauley, a Connecticut businessman, chartered a plane and helped save the lives of orphan children who had survived a plane crash during the evacuation in the last days of the Vietnam war. “Operation Babylift” gave rise to AmeriCares, a global organization dedicated to saving lives and restoring health.
The Pediatric Nutrition Program in Vietnam recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. AmeriCares partnerships with the Giao Diem Humanitarian Foundation and the Abbott Fund have substantially improved the health and lives of approximately 22,000 preschool children living in rural areas where resources are scarce and hunger prevalent.
In fall, 2011, as the worst flooding in half a century left millions of people in Southeast Asia struggling to survive, AmeriCares responded to urgent requests for aid, with emergency grants to partners in Vietnam and Cambodia for the purchase and distribution of food and relief items to help thousands of survivors in dire need.
Since 1985, AmeriCares has played an active role in bringing lifesaving nourishment where it’s needed most, with immediate emergency deliveries of nutritional supplements to ease human suffering in famine-stricken countries, and ongoing nutritional support, programs and grants to help break the cycle of hunger in impoverished countries worldwide.
AmeriCares, Abbott and the Abbott Fund’s preschool-based nutrition program helps improve nutrition and health in young children in some of the most remote and impoverished areas of Vietnam. The Pediatric Nutrition Program also supports teacher training, classroom improvements, and parent education in health and nutrition.
Typhoons, earthquakes and Samoan Tsunami raise concerns around responding to multiple disasters in a challenging economy. Please donate to help.
AmeriCares emergency aid is helping survivors of catastrophic earthquakes and typhoons. Learn more and find out how you can help.
AmeriCares is responding to the global food crisis by delivering nutritional supplements, vitamins and medicines to help those in vulnerable communities around the world.
n 2004, AmeriCares began its fight against malnutrition in Vietnam, as an estimated 40% of the children under the age of five were underweight. AmeriCares continues to partner with Abbott to support an ongoing nutritional program founded by a local NGO partner, The Giao Diem Foundation. The program provides children with daily enriched and nutritional diets; since it began, the percentage of participating underweight children dropped significantly, from 41% to 14%.