2018 was an interesting year for MESCH. We made some hard and, in many ways, disappointing decisions about projects and started 2 new ones in Phan Rang.
MESCH project summary 2018
|Raga||Pentecost, Vanuatu||2013- 2018||On hold||Development||Narelle C|
|Trauma care (first aid)||DaLat, Vietnam||2014-current||Inactive||Development||Cuong Vu|
|Thanh Huyen||DaLat, Vietnam||2016-2017||Inactive||Development||Narelle & John C|
|Trauma care||Ninh Tuan, Vietnam||2018-current||Ongoing||Development||John C & Cuong Vu|
|Paediatric anaesthesia & surgery||Ninh Tuan, Vietnam||2019||Proposed||Development||John C|
Community first aid project, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam
In May 2018 we ran 2 community based first aid courses. These were for the Red Cross and members of Prudential insurance. No further approach by GM Red Cross Lam Dong province, University “youth group” or from Mr Bao (on behalf of Mrs Tam or Thuy Anh - –Prudential and private businesswoman respectively) re NGO called Từ Tấm (“From the heart”) in furthering community first aid. Cuong V does not believe this course has a future in DaLat and will not actively pursue it.
Trauma Projects Phan Rang (Ninh Thuan Hospital), Vietnam
Visit Date: 7-15 September 2018. Members: Khang Vo, Bao Khue, Au V, Cuong V and John C.
NTGH Dr The (Lecturer), Dr Hong (Lecturer), Ms Tuoi (Co-ordinator)
MESCH: John Cassey (overall Coordinator and lecturer), Cuong Vu (Lecturer and interpreter), Au Vu (Lecturer and interpreter), Bao Khue (lecturer and interpreter), Khang Vo (Interpreter).
The course content and general arrangements had been discussed with the hospital and lecturers through SKYPE, text and email over many months. The draft slide set had been modified by both VN lecturers. Detailed timetables, scenarios, evaluations, multiple choice questions and resource lists had been checked. Logistics of permissions, invitations, interpreters and so on were jointly organised between Ms Tuoi, Cuong and John.
The hospital provided transport from and to Cam Rang airport. Initial hotel was changed to one further from hospital because of comfort, food and noise considerations. It required a daily taxi fare (~$2.00)
All course content was delivered by Dr The, Dr Hong, Cuong Vu, Au Vu and Bao Khue. John had input on occasion when requested for information or because some aspects needed further explanation. Scenarios were run by Dr The, Dr Hong, Cuong Vu, Au Vu and John
There were ~20 attendees at the community courses, 15 at the PTC and 10 at the PTC instructor’s course. The community attendees were almost exclusively Red Cross. The PTC ones were from Ninh Thuan hospital and various smaller hospitals or healthcare centres in Ninh Thuan province. They included emergency doctors, surgeons and nurses. Many attendees held administrative and clinical roles.
Courses were held in a single location with good quality audio-visual equipment, seating and air-conditioning. However, it was too small a room for 3 scenarios to run concurrently and the corridor outside, whilst perfectly adequate for space, was hot. Equipment utilised in the scenarios consisted of: two Laerdal intubating mannequins (previously purchased by MESCH and provided on loan from LDGH), 2 “Little Anne” (MESCH) and 3 CPR mannequins (MESCH and NTGH) and other consumables from NTGH and MESCH.
Aims and outcomes
1) Initiate Community first aid and instructors courses at NTGH was achieved but will not be continued.Smaller hospitals,at their discretion
2) Initiate PTC and instructors courses was achieved at NTGH
3) Acquisition of knowledge and skills was achieved and NTGH has planned dates for 2019 (direct observation and MCQ)
4) Build confidence that care can be was achieved achieved with a minimum of technology (Resources questionnaire and course evaluation)
5) Increased awareness of the need for training was achieved and for this to be driven from the senior staff.. MOU to continue
6) Introduce a new style of course delivery and determine participants perceptions of this was achieved and well received (course evaluation and direct feedback)
7) Understand what impediments might need to be resolved to improve trauma care in Ninh Thuan Province is in progress by both NTGH and MESCH
8) Begin to understand the structure and processes behind trauma care in is in progress by both NTGH and MESCH
9) Modifications to the PTC course is in progress by both NTGH and MESCH
10) Establish NTGH ownership of the course has been achieved
** Video of simple jaw thrust airway management completed during the course by participants with assistance by Cuong, Au and John
Red Cross community members are unable to utilise this course. In addition, no organisation is directly responsible for community health education. Had we been informed about this prior to the course, we could have scheduled further PTC courses so that more staff from remote areas (theoretically more able to give community education) could have attended. PTC courses were highly relevant for all doctors and nurses.
Language was not an issue
We do not have a clear understanding of what is motivating current lecturers. Nurse Nguyen is director of nursing for the province and has an education background. She attended the course and seems genuinely keen to teach the course to more nurses province-wide.
Communications between the hospital and the community and some remotely located participants was not ideal simply because of priorities within both NTGH and the other centres. It will not be possible to completely obviate this in the future.
Equipment - More consumables would be ideal. Mannequins based at NTGH instead of borrowed from LDGH would help
Debriefs were good and frequent – usually at lunch or at the end of the day.
Having regard to the track record of previous PTC courses in Vietnam and, in particular, our experience in LDGH, what was achieved here was very encouraging.
Raga Sewing, Pentecost, Vanuatu
During our last trip in April/May this year a few things were noted and some actions were taken –
The business was being run by the sewing ladies predominately by Pauline as the manager Isaiah was asked to leave in December the year before.
MESCH response…we had spoken prior to this trip with Andrew Rara (from Abutontora) and Debra Giginia (founding member of Raga) to try and find someone suitable. A young lady named Taniella from Abutontora who was studying business was interested. Due to being delayed by cyclone conditions we met with her in Port Vila before we left. She was shy and quietly spoken but really believed in the Raga business and wanted to be involved. We had already spoken with the sewing ladies about working together as a team with a manager. So Taniella was going to start as manager
MESCH response…we had moved to paying the ladies a percentage of what they produce for the last 18mths rather than the unrealistic hourly rate that we began with. They wanted to return to an hourly rate as they believe it is a better incentive to work than being paid for what is produced. We reminded them that there were issues with hourly payments when one worker was faster than the other and made more clothes but was paid the same. We came up with a compromise of being paid a small hourly rate and for what is produced per worker.
There was a problem with prompt payment of accounts as well as wages by Ephraim…
MESCH response…we have had discussions with Ephraim before about the need to spend money in order to make money as well as needing to keep suppliers happy by paying their invoices as well as paying your workers for their work. We know Ephraim is very busy with his job as bursar for the school and decided that we would trial getting a second cheque book for Deborah so she could write the cheques as she is also a signatory. Unfortunately The Bank of Vanuatu requires two signatures but still Ephraim would only have to sign. We discussed this with Ephraim and Deborah and they both agreed to trial this. Deborah would pay the wages every two weeks when she came to the bank for her school.
MESCH response…We had asked on previous trips about the availability of other spaces for Raga. We knew of space that would require a new building at village nearby. Deborah’s husband Haniel is chief of this village and told us that they would look after the business. Having the business in a school has made it difficult to define ownership and responsibility for maintenance especially without a capable manager. However on this trip when they realised that MESCH was coming to the end of its time on Pentecost they became quite animated and identified 3 other sites for us to look at. There was one at Abutontora opposite the medical centre that looked good. It was previously a community building for markets but had fallen into disrepair. We discussed this openly with the management and staff Raga as well as Andrew and other people at Abutontora. It was agreed to look further into this site and Andrew would look into quotes for repairs.
One of the sewing ladies, Harriet, had told her husband (who is on the school board) abou thtese ideas. There was a strong reaction to this from the board and we were told (second hand) that we could not move because Raga belonged at Lini and we would have to sign release papers. This confirmed our concerns about the Church’s intentions.
Deborah was unaware of the events regarding Andrew and was upset about it. She told us that Taniella had left and that one of the ladies (Harriett) had been in Vila since July to have her eyes fixed. She reported that some weeks ago she heard the Raga generator going at night and found the school was using Raga’s generator for power at night. She objected this but was ignored. The generator is now broken. They are have intention to fix it. Raga is now using the school power. Ephraim does not co-sign cheques that Deborah writes. Nothing we discussed and agreed upon during our visit has continued.
In the months since our last visit Raga FB following has doubled to over 1,000 followers. The comments on the last post were all of support for a 100% Vanuatu owned business which is rare. We have also been contacted by Radio Vanuatu to be interviewed about Raga.
Our concerns about the church interfering with Raga are confirmed. We suspect that the rest of the equipment like sewing machines, laptop, printer, sewing stock etc will also be seconded somehow.
Knowledge of Raga is spreading quite fast now, enough to get the attention of the national radio station. There are few Ni-van owned businesses so Raga is well supported. It has enormous potential to grow into a great business.
Haniel’s village site is well positioned on the road to the port, near the airport and bank and is independent from any government or church organisation. Neither Hanile nor Deborah have made any steps at furthering this
The non-viability of the current site sits squarely on local individuals and church politics.
MESCH's final response:
This has been a very promising project which was well researched and built with a lot of careful community and “in house” (staff) consultation. If an equivalent start-up in Australia had the same positive social media presence, its success would be almost assured. At over 1000 Facebook followers (up from 600 a few months ago) and requests by Radio Vanuatu for interviews, the business has certainly caught the imagination of NiVan people. It’s longevity, the logo and its local ownership are likely big plusses. Quite apart from the income generated for the women, they have:
Learnt: How to order materials and other supplies, maintain and (partly) fix sewing machines, new ways of communicating with westerners, organise workflows
Been introduced to: another style of business structure that takes into account profit sharing and immediate and projected outgoings, marketing and sales, difficulties in logistics, future planning with staff training
With the support of Andrew, Debra and MESCH, we reacquireed the equipment on Pentecost and stored it, temporarily, in south Pentecost, en route to Port Vila (Maylindah and Hollingsowrth). If we do not re-establish the business then the stock can be distributed to the people.
Andrew is passionate about a small primary school they have started in Abuwontonura. We have expressed our willingness to consider any specific propositions for assistance.
Paediatric anaesthesia and surgery, NInh Thuan Hospital, Vietnam
MESCH works through education and training. We work on a variety of projects - empowering women, better outcomes from trauma, helping people who have the passion to change their lives but born without the ability to do so. By working in a sustainable framework, you help us jump-start their lives and watch them forge their journey on their own terms. We have their backs. We need you to have ours.”
New Videos: new Raga video (Narelle C), jaw thrust airway video (created by Ninh Thuan hospital 2018), Ronni Khan (OzHarvest) support for MESCH
Current organisational memberships: Statutory (ACNC, Dept Liquor, Gaming and Racing); Google not for profits; Giving circle.
Current organisational associations/contacts: MedEarth (medical supplies); Newcastle Global Health; WHO road trauma; AVI; ABV; Application to UN submitted June 2017
Maitland city Library- Maitland City Library’s “Look Who’s Talking Local Stories” program. Scheduled 2019 - Steve T
Presentations: John C to Hunter clubs in March, morning ABC radio session with Garth Russell (John C), ABC radio session with Paul Bevan. (Steve T). Steve T, Narelle C and John C find radio interview stressful.
Collective Heart and Probus – Steve T
John B for prepared these with assistance Narelle and John C.
- Raga (Narelle C, Penny W, Steve T, John C)
-Trauma course (Cuong Vu, John C)
Executive (Penny W, Narelle C, John B and John C)
Penny W, Mich P, Narelle C and John C did mail out to Hunter doctors
Angela Woods (Hickson’s lawyers) advice on website compliance
Au Vu (assisted production of trauma project resources and taught at both courses Vietnam)
Bao Khue (assisted production of first aid trauma project and taught at both courses Vietnam)
David Woodcock (auditing and accounts)
Hien Trinh (interpreter living in Australia) spoke several times with Ninh Thuan organisational contact Ms Tuoi and translated many documents and emails
Khang Võ (Interpreter living in Vietnam) translated documents and PowerPoints for the trauma course and interpreted for it in Phan Rang)
Leigh Bryant (Scorpion international) has continued to assist with networking for sponsorship
Ronni Khan (OzHarvest) produced an affirmatory video clip for MESCH
Sirocco assisted with website development – reduced rate and some pro-bono
Stewart (Mr Stitches) refurbished industrial machine and updated Steve Threlfo’s knowledge on repairs
‘telligence (website design and hosting) continue to host website pro-bono and development costs at reduced rate
Tony Rhodes (Mullane’s) considered involvement in Raga
Vy An (Interpreter living in Vietnam) translated documents and liaised with LDGH about the proposed changes to the ED LDGH (pro bono)
Rustica evening 17th March 2019. Mark Hosie (owner and chef) happy to arrange food/ beverages free, staff and his time free – all ticket sales and money raised to go to MESCH. Small committee established (Julie Bartlett, Lyn Gaye, Narelle and John C). Video message from Ronni Khan (OzHarvest) has been received with thanks.
b) Private Clinician Support to continue in 2019
c) Proposal to travel insurers to produce a film used by MESCH for publicity and insurers for market share and supporting MESCH in reducing poor outcomes from trauma – hence reducing payouts and premiums. No uptake.
Michael Craddock (Newcastle based with VN national partner) very enthusiastic with suggestion he and his partner may make MESCH a beneficiary of funding from their charity dinner in 2019. Email from John to follow this meeting.
Phone call conversation and follow-up email to previous leader of Vietnamese community in Sydney. No current outcome. Newcastle Vietnamese community not interested.
Donate is now part of header and donate and volunteer frame contact options
All countries are combined into a single page – current with option to go to previous at bottom of page
telligence have resolved domain name issues.
Each current project has a financial target and a human interest story
The European “General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect recently and we have been given advice by Hickson’s lawyers (our long term legal consultants) as to how to comply. This involves 3 things: Do not accept money in currencies other than AUD, do not translate pages into any EU language and do not accept membership or send advertising/ marketing to EU based people/ organisations.
Narelle has re-vamped the “donate” page and Sirocco and PayPal have completed these suggestions.
Reports are finished, links on home page updated and "about" in centered
In order to continue to deliver meaningful project support and evaluation we need financial backing, input from individuals with specialist skills and support for both the project co-ordinators and executive. Although we have made some in-roads with presentations and contacts, this has been frustratingly slow.
1) Continue to look for a secretary to supplement our executive
2) Build community recognition of MESCH – continue to look for PR support
3) Foster support for project co-ordinators.
4) Pursue meetings with individuals we have identified as potential sponsors – individuals, corporate.