A Little on the Plus Side

Hector W. Kay


Recently we had an opportunity to read a report describing the work of Viên Quôc'-Gia Phuc-Hôi (National Rehabilitation Institute-NRI) of South Vietnam. This report apparently covered the work of the Institute for the period immediately prior to the summer of 1972.

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According to the Foreword the National Rehabilitation Institute has received technical assistance from the World Rehabilitation Fund (WRF) since January 1966, under contract between WRF and the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID). These services have been provided in the areas of physical therapy, physiatry, psychological/vocational guidance, rehabilitation of the blind, prosthetics-orthotics rehabilitation and administrative liaison From time to time the World Rehabilitation Fund has also assisted other projects at NRI from its own general funds or from other resources.

The object of the project has been to help the National Rehabilitation Institute expand and improve its services and to become increasingly self-sufficient, so that it could operate with a minimum of foreign assistance.

Under the contract, WRF designed and built two branch centers of NRI, one at Cantho and one at Danang. Under a contract with the External Aid Office of Canada, WRF also built another branch center at Quinhon.

The physical facilities depicted in the NRI report appeared relatively new, modern, and attractive. Even more appealing to this reader was the evidence of an apparent high level of treatment, particularly in regard to the fields of prosthetics and orthotics. The amputation stumps shown in some of the illustrations appear to reflect first-class surgery, and the prostheses and orthoses shown being fitted were of modern concept and apparent excellent workmanship. Through the courtesy of Lam Van Thach, M.D., Director General of NRI, we are able to reproduce some of the pictures shown in the report.

We were struck by the thought that, although little if any good has come out of the Vietnam conflict, the development of services through NRI is perhaps one small factor on the plus side, not only for those already treated but also for the future.