Doctor of the poor

ba phuoc

Not only winning popularity in Cần Thơ City and surrounding localities in the Mekong Delta as an acupuncturist of poor patients, he has turned many of his patients into volunteers to help others in his free-of-charge clinic.

He is Nguyễn Văn Phúc, informally called ‘Master Ba Phước’ in honor of his devotion to disadvantaged people.

His clinic of oriental medicine is located in an alley No.44, Quarter 6, Cách Mạng Tháng Tám Street, Cái Khế Ward, Ninh Kiều District.

The clinic – which is on a 120 square meter plot costing US$21,000 in total, having been financed by the German Schmitz Stiftung Foundation – receives over a hundred patients per day.

Not only do patients enjoy free diagnosis, they get free acupuncture and free oriental medicine which are all processed and prepared by local volunteers – most of them being former patients at the clinic.

Chances of contribution

‘Master Ba’ began doing charitable job with the Red Cross of Cái Khế Ward in 1988 till 1991 when he met Buddhist Master Thích Bình Tâm, a therapist and acupuncturist, who arrived at the locality to offer free treatment.

Ba Phước helped and learnt acupuncture from the monk.

Two years later, the monk handed over the management of the herbal medicine to Ba Phước and left for other places.

At the time, the unit could only offer services to 20-30 patients a day.

After taking over, Ba Phước enrolled in an oriental medicine class run by the Cần Thơ Traditional Medicine Institute.

“The environment has become more and more polluted and so diverse diseases have sprung up.

I have to learn to get updated info,” said Ba Phước.

“In urgent cases, I prescribe patients western medicine.

Otherwise, oriental medicine works effectively and has fewer side effects.”

Lưu Văn Hải, a 68-year patient in Cái Răng District, said:

“I had problems with sciatic nerves for 3 years, but have no money for treatment so I come here.

Poor patients here just come to him.

If I stay here, I will have free meals.”

Huỳnh Thị Mai, 71, is a volunteer at this clinic.

She said:

“The clinic offers 500-700 free packages doses of oriental medicine a day.”

Many patients who were partially paralyzed have recovered after spending a period of time at the clinic.

At the entrance door of the clinic sits a charity box via which patients can donate at will.

The donation sum is spent on buying more herbs.


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