Active internationally since 2002 and in Vietnam since 2008, FTW has developed a clear, sustainable strategy and solution which will lead to tens of thousands of children, initially in Vietnam and then beyond, receiving the treatment they need for often completely debilitating congenital conditions. The charity has moved away from the model of treating one to two children a year, at astronomical cost, to a position where it is now able to operate on thousands of children with craniofacial irregularities and, crucially, is providing effective continuous training for local teams at partner hospitals.
This model is based on a teaching platform replicable not only in Vietnam but in other countries in the longer term, and scalable in the medical field where talent has proven difficult to scale in the past.
FTW is run by volunteers who care passionately about the cause. This includes all doctors nationally and internationally, the CEO (Trustee) and all other professionals. To-date, major corporations and foundations have shown incredible support for the charity’s unique approach, donating generously in funds, services and medical equipment.
FTW’s fundraising target over 5 years is £3.5 million. All fundraising efforts are, for this phase, focused on Vietnam, where the occurrence of life-altering conditions from birth is estimated to be 10 times higher than in neighbouring countries, thought to be partly due to the legacy of Agent Orange.
HOW YOUR HELP MAKES A DIFFERENCE
The funds you raise are channelled to the following program and initiatives, each designed to provide a sustainable healthcare solution for the tens of thousands of children born with disabling facial differences:
- Training Fellowships
- In-country training via medical missions
- Telemedicine platform
- The 108 Center for Craniofacial and Plastic Surgery
Training fellowships are key to the charity’s success. Practising the teach a man to fish approach creates a viable and sustainable solution. FTW awards international training fellowships to Vietnamese medics and since inception in 2015, its network has expanded from the UK to include the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Canada, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in the USA. To date, over 100 Vietnamese medics have been offered fellowships to the UK, Canada and the USA, giving them the opportunity to observe and learn new techniques and approaches. One of the many positive outcomes has been that the Difficult Airways Society (UK) has introduced its guidelines into Vietnam, and is collaborating intensively with the country.
Doctors are offered 2-6 week fellowships, with all associated costs covered by the charity (approx. £11,100 per 2 week fellowship, increasing incrementally). Craniofacial medicine and surgery consists of a multidisciplinary approach and as such all doctors, surgeons and ancillary specialists from each hospital are offered fellowships.
These fellowships are supplemented by in-country medical missions where complex surgeries are carried out by coordinated teams of the Vietnamese doctors and the international doctors involved in the fellowship program.
The target: Over the next five years, FTW plans at least 200 more fellowships to top hospitals internationally. Fellowships are offered to doctors from FTW’s partner hospitals where FTW is working collaborative in setting up craniofacial centers.
In-country training builds on the fellowships, and is delivered by the charity’s teams during medical missions to Vietnam in which they and the Vietnamese medics operate jointly, putting the new approaches and techniques to use. The missions typically last a week and the international doctors who participate in the missions come exclusively from units where the fellowship program is active in the UK, Canada and the USA. This serves to build on the continual educational process. Since 2008, there have been on average two missions to Vietnam per year. Smaller additional missions covering specific surgical topics and approaches have proved a resounding success.
The target: To increase mission numbers over the next five years to between four and six per year. All missions now include teaching conferences to which doctors throughout Vietnam are invited.
Telemedicine: a crucial element for long term scalability
Partnering with a telemedicine platform is critical to a scalable and replicable approach. It enables the development of an outreach program in Vietnam, along with a two-way mentoring educational system with international partners.
Through the InTouch Health platform, FTW has been able to donate telemedicine capability to all its partner hospitals in Vietnam. This connectivity will allow foreign experts to continue advising and teaching on a regular basis without physically being in country. In the short term, the charity expects to enable a link with one of its foreign partner centers, thereby once again extending the teaching possibilities.
The target: FTW aims to roll the platform out in a few strategic clinics across Vietnam, thereby facilitating an outreach program to bring expertise and screening to remote areas without the large capital expenditure which would otherwise be required.
The charity works with its Vietnamese partner hospitals to identify other game-changing equipment needs.
In the past two years alone, FTW has coordinated donations of £2 million of medical equipment, including InTouch telemedicine to Hong Ngoc, Viet-Duc, K (Cancer), and 108 Military Central hospitals as a start to extending the national and international linking and treatment capabilities.
The target: To continue to identify key equipment needs in line with the development of each center of excellence.
108 Center for Craniofacial and Plastic Surgery – the first of its kind in South East Asia
In December 2018, the first Center for Craniofacial and Plastic Surgery in Vietnam was opened on behalf of FTW to develop a service capable of delivering in-country expertise to meet the overwhelming need. This was the result of nearly three years of strategic positioning among various members of the medical establishment, the government and FTW. Senior members of 108 Military Central Hospital had attended FTW fellowships in the UK and Canada. A blueprint was developed, with a clear and measurable 5 to 8 year plan including all ancillary specialists under a true multidiscipline approach.
So far, since January 2019, 26 medics from the new Center have taken part in the fellowship program, and two telemedicine platforms from InTouch Health have been donated. These are the first steps in a new modular approach, which will offer a clear start and end point that can be replicated elsewhere in the vast and ever-expanding international network. More centers of excellence will be established as the program evolves.
The target: After 8 years, the Center will be able to reach and treat 60% of all children born in Vietnam with significant facial differences.
Can you help us to achieve our goal?!