20 March 2017
A partnership with a Vietnamese hospital that was established by foot and
ankle specialist Dr Andrew
Beischer and Epworth HealthCare in January 2015, has
recently expanded to include plans for a re-invigorated library at English
learning program for the Ho Chi Minh hospital.
Project HTO, which is named after the city’s busy Hospital for Trauma and
Orthopaedics (HTO), has already sponsored 12 young orthopaedic surgeons to experience
life in Australia over a three month stay, learning much about current surgical
techniques in Victorian Hospitals while they are here..
“When the doctors come to Melbourne, they come to the beach
with us, go to the footy, sing in St Ignatius church with the Vietnamese
community and truly experience life and work in Australia. They are our friends
and we have already forged lasting and generous relationships across several
Melbourne hospital groups and with individual doctors,” Dr Beischer said.
Championing access to new
medical literature and ‘friendship’ library
Beischer identified the priority of an English learning program alongside the
plan to re-invigorate and re-stock the hospital library in Ho Chi Minh, when he
recognised the current library’s limited resources and decades-old text books
and journals. He set about planning the provision of an air-conditioner, supply
of an up to-date supply of medical literature and online access to medical
This idea was warmly embraced by everybody he told. Two
friends immediately donated $10k through Norman
Beischer Medical Research Foundation,
established by Andrew’s beloved father, an Emeritus Professor who died two
years ago after a lifetime vocation in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
“The Epworth Medical Foundation then offered to meet that
amount to supply new text books which will stay in the Library. To enable staff
to borrow books, I am encouraging my colleagues in the Australian Orthopaedic
Association to clean out their shelves; and we’ll find a way to ship them over”
Dr Beischer said.
“In February, we hosted three administrative and library
staff from HTO, who visited Epworth and Dandenong hospitals for clinical
experience and training.”
“The new Epworth
/ HTO Friendship Library will be completed in early 2018. I liked the idea of what we can achieve
through friendship and the name reminds me of the Friendship Bridge that
the Australian government built over the Mekong River. Work will start there in
About Dr Andrew Beischer
Dr Beischer’s is a board member of the Australian Orthopaedic Association (AOA). His relationship with the Hospital for Traumatology and Orthopaedics (HTO) in Ho Chi Minh City helped established ‘Project HTO’, sponsoring young orthopaedic surgeons for a three month stay in Australia.
Nothing seems to hold back the systematic plans that Dr Beischer has to share surgery techniques and equipment enjoyed in privileged, developed countries. The Friendship library is one of four Project HTO initiatives planned for 2017.
Apart from his father as mentor, Dr Beischer admires the Fred Hollows approach to improving another community’s health. “Just get in there and do it”, he says.
Photo: Epworth Board Chairman Rod Fitzroy with the visitors from Hospital for Traumatology and Orthopaedics (HTO) in Ho Chi Minh City (l-r) Mrs Nguyen Thi Ngoc Chinh, Chief of Nursing; Ms Nguyen Huynh Mai Anh, librarian and Mrs Le Thi Thanh Nguyen, HR Manager