Scholarship Fosters Medical Talents

 The Sai Gon Giai Phong (SGGP) newspaper, Ho Chi MInh Department of Health, Ho Chi MInh Medical School and Ho Chi Minh University Training Center for Health Care Professional have jointly set up the scholarship scheme.

Establishment of the scholarship

The former Health Minister Nguyen Van Huong

Mr Nghiem Minh, the head of Facts – Services – Publishing Center at Sai Gon Giai Phong Newspaper recalls late-July, 1998, when he heard of Dr. Nguyen Van Huong’s wishes to establish a scholarship to help medical students from his 40-million savings.

Despite Mr. Huong’s poor health at that time, he was so delighted when the Management of the Sai Gon Giai Phong (SGGP) newspaper told him they would take charge of the scholarship scheme.

He told the Management Team his savings was a small sum but he earned it during his honest life, thus he wanted them to use the donation properly and to carefully select scholarship recipients. His concern was the stability of the scholarship fund to help as many as students as possible. The responsible organizers must have “clean” hearts and right mind. He felt assured as the newspaper offered to take care of the Fund.

After the meeting with the doctor, management of the newspaper prepared the scheme immediately so that he could attend the opening ceremony of the Fund. But he never made it. The honorable doctor had passed away just before the Fund was officially open. Attendants at the ceremony promised to make their concerted effort in maintaining the scholarship to help medical students.

Contributions of individuals and organizations

Since its inception, individuals and organizations have provided support for the fund. Dr. Duong Quang Trung, Dr. Nguyen Khanh Du, Dr. Nguyen Dong A, Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong are the managers of the fund and play an important role in funds raising. Nguyen Kim Sam, the wife of late professor Nguyen Van Tuu, a member of managing board, has given her pension money to the fund every year.

 Annually, Cho Ray Hospital, Tu Du and International Gyneagology and Obstetrics hospital, Nguyen Trai Hospital, Nhan Dan Gia Dinh Hospital, and Zuellig Pharma Company have donated money to the Fund.  There have been eleven individuals and companies contributed over VND110 million to the fund, as to February 28, 2006 when the managers had a meeting to discuss the 7th scholarship-granting ceremony.

The Health Minister Nguyen Thi Trung Chien grants scholarships to students

Since its establishment, the scholarship scheme has received support from individuals working in and outside of medical professions, companies and attracted a lot of attention from the medical departments.

Among the contributors, the doctor’s friends and colleagues are some people who find it a meaningful act to make contribution to. Some people had told the relatives to back the fund after they passed away. Dr. Nguyen Van Trong, the head of the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Health, for example, asked his relatives to send VND 100 million to the fund after he died. That was part of his savings when he worked as an expert for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Sweden.

There is currently VND700 million in the fund thanks to the precious contributions of philanthropists.

Contributions to foster talents

The managers have campaigned for contributions to expand the scholarship fund. This expansion includes the sending of graduated doctors and midwives to remote, mountainous areas.

In the first year of its operation, 43 scholarships, worth VND2 million each, were granted to 30 medical students and 13 doctors.  This year 2006, 45 scholarships worth VND3million, VND5 million and VND1 million each will go to 30 students, 10 doctors and 5 village midwives.

The scholarships for students were increased from VND1 million to VND3 million each; from VND2 million to VND5 million each for doctors. 300 students and 50 doctors have been granted scholarships for eight years.

The Chief Editor of SGGP newspaper Duong Trong Dat receives donation from a sponsor

Thanks to the support from the Fund, 200 medical students out of 300 have completed their studies and are now making contributions to the public health care services, including 50 doctors, after graduation,  working in difficult conditions in isolated areas.

By Lam Hong - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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