Vietnam Airlines has partnered with two non-profits in a commitment to provide transport for specialist doctors carrying out training in Vietnam for children born with facial deformities. 

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) with medical non-profits Facing The World (FTW) and the World Alliance of Airway Management (WAAM) was signed in the presence of Vietnam’s President Vo Van Thuong in London to commemorate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the UK. 

President and CEO Le Hong Ha commemorated the continuing partnership between Vietnam Airlines and FTW, saying: “Our long-term goal is to help enable Vietnamese doctors to learn new techniques and approaches from the world’s leading surgeons. 

“Through this cooperation, Vietnam Airlines wants to affirm its role in supporting the healthcare sectors of both Vietnam and the UK, thereby strengthening trust, friendship and long-term cooperation between the two countries.”

The newly signed agreement will continue the airline’s support for FTW, a partnership that began in 2015, over the next five years and will also include the donation of important equipment needed to facilitate complex surgeries to Vietnamese hospitals alongside other support for the charity across the country. 

The partnership with WAAM will also see the airline fly medical experts from across the world to Vietnam for the WAAM conference in 2024. 

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FTW CEO Katrin Kandel spotlighted the thousands of children in Vietnam who urgently need surgery to address physical abnormalities in their heads and necks: “Despite huge advances in medical care there, many are unable to access the treatment they need. 

“These cases can be incredibly complex and require highly specialist skills in difficult airway management, often because breathing structures are distorted.” 

Supporting FTW’s work sits alongside Vietnam Airlines’ previous partnerships with Operation Smile to transport doctors providing free surgery to children with cleft lip, cleft palate and maxillofacial deformities and its support for the Vietnam Heart Programme supporting the cost of children’s heart surgery. 

Facing The World has been recognised for pioneering a new approach to sustainable healthcare through self-run centres of excellence providing vital surgery to children born with facial deformities. FTW currently has a goal of raising £3.5m to train 200 doctors and perform 40,000 operations over five years.