Congratulations to Dr Phouc Vo
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On Saturday 6 July 2019, Dr Phouc Vo was awarded The Graham Turnidge Shield for Vocational Excellence at the Rotary District 9685 Changeover.
The Graham Turnidge Shield for Vocational Excellence is rewarded to an exemplary Rotarian who has enhanced the image of Rotary through commitment, integrity and excellence in their vocation and service to Rotary. The award honours the late Graham Turnidge, President of the Rotary Club of Carlingford in 1976/77 and our only District Governor to date in 1982/83. This year’s award was presented by our Honorary Member Elaine Turnidge.
Rotary Carlingford Club were proud to nominate Dr Phouc Vo for his outstanding service to Rotary and providing free direct health services and humanitarian aid to those in need, especially those in disadvantaged and remote areas in Vietnam.
About Dr Vo
Phuoc Vo was born in Vietnam, where he completed his Medical Degree. After witnessing unjust policies at the hospital he was employed, he decided to flee the country and endured a frightening seven day voyage from Vietnam to Malaysia. After time at a refugee camp, he was selected by Australian Immigration Officials and sent to Sydney on 13 May 1981. Able to speak only broken English, penniless, alone and with only a shirt, shorts and shoes, he was told by immigration officials it would be impossible to work as doctor in Australia and he was given work at BHP, shovelling coal for $3.80 an hour.
After one year with BHP, a newspaper advertisement detailing university courses prompted him to study medicine again. Overcoming a number of difficulties, he convinced the University of NSW to let him study medicine and he graduated in 1986. After working at Westmead Hospital for a year, he set up his own general practice in Cabramatta which he has continued to run to this day. He has been actively involved in educating and supporting medical professionals in providing palliative care in ethnic communities.
About Dr Vo’s work
In 2002, Dr Vo organized a medical mission with a small number of like minded professionals, to travel to Vietnam to provide free medical services in a remote rural area of Vietnam.
He has led that team each year since then and has grown the number of volunteers and range of services provided.
In 2015, the AusViet Charity Foundation (AVCF) was formed with Dr Vo as its Chairman. Their vision is to bring together passionate and dedicated Australians to work in collaboration with local Vietnamese professionals to provide free medical and dental treatment to disadvantaged areas of Vietnam.
The 2018 AVCF mission to the village of Tra Cu in the Mekong Delta area of Vietnam lead by Dr Vo was an outstanding success. The team of approximately 100, comprising GP’s, dentists, nurses, ophthalmologists, pharmacists, physiotherapists and civilians, including Rotarians, combined in one week to achieve the following amazing results:
- 450 eye examinations
- 104 cataract operations
- 746 dental examinations with more than 1000 dental treatments
- 1061 medical general examinations
- 5422 medical prescriptions dispensed
- 40 onsite physiotherapy
- 270 hearing aids provided to the hearing loss people
- 386 reading & sun glasses given
- 37 ultrasound scans
- 95 blood tests
- 1200 education & hygiene gift packs distributed to disadvantaged children
- 45 education sanitary packs for teenage girls (Days for Girls kits)
- 300 humanitarian gift packs donated to impoverished families
These results would not have been possible without Dr Vo’s vision and dedication in seeking the volunteers and the generous support from donors and sponsors, including the Rotary Club of Mt Lawley in Western Australia and Rotary Club of Carlingford. His dedication to his vocation has inspired the Rotarians with whom he is associated, and as a result more members of Rotary Club of Carlingford have volunteered to accompany Dr Vo to work with the poorest of the poor in Vietnam again in 2019. As a Rotarian he has supported the Club projects and fund raising activities to enable the work of helping others in all areas of life to continue. As our photo above illustrates, Dr Vo wears the Rotary emblem on his shirt with pride, thus promoting the dedication, generosity and integrity of all Rotarians to those he encounters.