Children & Families Living with Lupus in Vietnam join the International Lupus Community
Lupus is an auto-immune disease that can be hard to manage in high income countries... So for children and their families in low- and middle-income countries a diagnosis of Lupus is devastating and isolating.
In 2015, health professionals and families in Vietnam came together around World Lupus Day (10 May 2015) to celebrate their rightful place within the International Lupus Community, and CLAN would especially like to acknowledge the generosity of the Lupus Association of NSW and the Australian Embassy of Hanoi for their incredibly generous support and encouragement of this community.
Life with a chronic health condition in resource-poor settings presents enormous challenges for children and families. However health professionals and families in Vietnam are partnering with a wide range of national and international partners to drive sustainable, long-term change.
Bringing the Lupus Community together for annual meetings has been a hugely important part of the change that health professionals have witnessed in Vietnam for children with Lupus, with reduced admissions and better outcomes clearly demonstrated, as well as no families deserting treatment for their children now that they feel more encouraged, empowered and supported to fight for their children's health.
Bright orange t-shirts donated to the Lupus Community of Vietnam by the Lupus Association of NSW were an enormous buzz for the community, and Prof Hai (Director of the National Hospital of Pediatrics in Hanoi) and Dr Elisabeth Hodson (Paediatric Nephrologist from The Children's Hospital Westmead (CHW), Australia) were pleased to hand them to members of the Lupus Community executive. These orange t-shirts were a symbol of the Vietnamese Lupus Community's belonging to the international Lupus Community, and a clear signal that they were not forgotten or alone.
Attendance at the Lupus Club meeting by a representative from the Australian Embassy in Hanoi was especially inspirational, and CLAN would sincerely like to thank Ambassador Hugh Borrowman and his team for strengthening our work in Vietnam. As an Australian NGO we are proud to identify as Australians in the work we do internationally, and having the support of the Australian Embassy means so much not only to CLAN, but also the families and staff working so hard to drive change.
The other really inspirational moment on the day came about when a young girl living with Lupus performed a beautiful traditional Vietnamese dance for fellow members of the Lupus Community of Vietnam... Her strength, beauty and bravery symbolised the characteristics of all struggling with Lupus, and indeed, she almost looked as gorgeous as a butterfly - another poignant symbol of the international Lupus Community.
All up, the World Lupus Day celebrations in Vietnam in 2015 were a great success, and CLAN would like to share our sincerest thanks with all involved... Our neighbours' children in Vietnam felt the love of Australia in a big way!