FMP’s Outreach to International Schools in HCMC on Healthcare Tips and Advise
Family Medical Practice’s seminar was held at the Hotel des Arts, featuring presentations from our founder Dr. Rafi Kot; Head Pediatrician Dr. Jonathan Halevy; psychiatrist Dr. Miguel De Seixas, and road safety advocate Roy Eliezer. After a welcome address that touched upon the incredible changes Dr. Rafi has seen in Vietnam’s medical industry over his three decades here, Dr. Jonathan Halevy led the room with his presentation on “The School Nurse: A First Responder” which touched on several likely areas of concern in the schoolyard, helping nurses to understand a “red/yellow/green traffic light” approach to certain health conditions. Materials distributed at the conference explained this in more detail.
Following Dr. Jonathan to the stage was the practice’s Director of Psychiatry, Dr. Miguel De Seixas, who spoke on the psychological challenges of being an international student. “These children did not come here by choice; they were part of a family relocation led by a parent’s career,” he said. “They have to say goodbye to a lot of lifelong friends and enter into an environment where friends come and go as parents continue to be transferred. This can cause issues with forming real, substantial, solid relationships for these kids, who after a sustained period find themselves only with “transactional” and superficial friendships between moves.”
Dr. Miguel also addressed the lack of systemic support in Vietnam for people suffering from mental health issues, emphasising the need for those in the community to proactively support each other—so that the signs of mental illness can be recognised earlier and treated more effectively prior to the onset of serious symptoms. Dr. Miguel welcomed calls and direct communications from school faculties should they wish to address any psychiatric issues.
In addition to the sessions presented by the doctors, Mr. Roy Ben Eliezer of the Interdisciplinary Center for Road Safety addressed the audience on the importance of safety for student pedestrians, cyclists, motorbike and car drivers on Vietnam’s perilous roads. Rounding the session out, FMP’s Clinical Director Mr. Ian Wilson reintroduced the vital and lifesaving *9999 service to the audience, reminding them of the multilingual state-of-the-art service that the company runs, and how it is available to both themselves and the students of their schools.
During both the Q&A session and in our internal discussions later, it became apparent just how prevalent the need that schools in the community have for accurate and up-to-date medical information from dedicated professionals. As such, Family Medical Practice will be commencing a school outreach initiative designed to provide crucial and potentially life-saving advice to nurses, faculty and administrators (as well as directly to students themselves) at schools all around the city. Some of the topics that staff or students may take an interest in could include “Managing Asthma in the School,” “Vaccinations, Kids and Sleep,” “Safe Sexual Practices,” “Safety on Roads,” “Puberty,” “Diet,” “Allergies and Anaphylaxis,” “Emergency Services,” and “Psychiatric Issues for Teens” (including eating disorders and the dangers of drugs and alcohol), among others.
Mr. Wilson informed the audience that Family Medical Practice was making its superb pediatric and psychiatric units available to educators through the delivery of health talks and seminars, either regularly or occasionally, on these topics and others.
“We are completely happy to customize materials for you or tailor-make a program from scratch,” said Mr. Wilson. “We have a team of seven of the best pediatricians in the nation in our clinics, fluent in English, Vietnamese and a host of other languages, who are making themselves available to local and international schools to discuss a range of topics that are relevant to staff, students, and parents.”