Traditional medicine in Vietnam has a history going back a thousand years, but there are still many things still to discover about medicinal herbs and treatment methods. These unknowns, together with the development of traditional medicine in the early 21st century, inspired FV Hospital’s Head of Traditional Medicine Dr Diec Kha Han to specialise in this long-standing medical field.
A passion for medicine
While studying Biology in the 2000s at the University of Natural Sciences, Vietnam National University of Ho Chi Minh City, Diec Kha Han had a strong desire to help those suffering from those around her, especially her relatives. During her second year of study, Han decided to enter the medical sector.
At the time, traditional medicine in Vietnam was starting to develop and many hospitals and healthcare centres were being established. Dr Han decided to study at the Faculty of Traditional Medicine, Ho Chi Minh University of Medicine and Pharmacy.
Initially, Dr Han didn’t have the support of her family members to follow a career in medicine. They were concerned about a doctor’s unpredictable schedule, late working hours, and constant contact with sources of infection.
Dr Han remembers: “Back then, my parents did not give me permission to study medicine, but it was my passion. I wanted to apply to any medicine-related discipline.”
Despite their objections, her family came around and supported Dr Han’s dreams as she dedicated herself to six years of study.
Traditional Medicine is based on fairly abstract theories, so during her early days of study, Dr Han found the discipline initially difficult to approach. However, she felt incredibly lucky to be studying at the Traditional Medicine Faculty of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy, which was recognised as one of the most prestigious places in Vietnam offering this specialist training.
During her education there, Dr Han learned from many renowned experts in the field of traditional medicine, including Dr Tran Van Ky, Dr Phan Quan Chi Hieu, and Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Thi Bay.
These professors helped Dr Han to develop a greater understanding of and passion for natural medicine. “Through careful observation, listening, diagnostic tools and asking about the patient’s mindset, the doctor can determine the cause of the disease. I found that incredibly interesting,” Dr Han adds.
Driven by youthful ambition
Medical trips that Dr Han has undertaken in remote areas since she was a student have continued to inspire her in her professional pursuits. Not only does she find joy in helping the community and improving her skills, but these trips were also an opportunity for this young doctor to learn many new things. Folk medicine practices includes many region-specific remedies and methodologies. Every time Dr Han took a trip, she completed many tests and recorded the results for further research.
“Many people from remote areas suffer from clinical diseases, but they cannot afford treatment. I instructed them how to use the medicinal plants around them to treat their illnesses,” shares Dr Han.
Dr Han likes to talk with her patients, listening to their concerns and sharing not only medical insights but also life experiences. In ancient medicine, helping a patient to keep an optimistic, calm mindset and trust their physician with their many difficulties is an effective method for treating disease.
During his medical training, herbalist Le Huu Trac discovered that because poor people cannot afford good doctors, the herbalist must treat them like VIPs, as “the physician just needs to pay a little attention to take good care of the patient so that they can live a full life.” This young doctor has changed the lives of many sick people for the better.
A doctor who is dedicated to her patients
After 15 years of practicing medicine, sharing great joy and sadness with her patients, Dr Diec Kha Han still retains her youthful ambitions in her day-to-day work. Although Dr Han knows that working as a doctor is very difficult, she does not want to do anything else. Dr Han is committed to ensuring that every patient who comes to her will receive the best possible care.
When choosing to work in the medical sector, a doctor needs to learn continuously. Constant technological advances in modern medicine, such as imaging and diagnostic testing, help doctors to find the best treatment solutions for their patients.
However, there are also some diseases that require traditional medicine. This knowledge makes Dr Han happy that she chose this path, as being trained in both modern and traditional medicine increases Dr Han’s ability to treat many patients.
“It’s my sincere hope that FV Hospital will develop its Traditional Medicine Department by combining modern and traditional techniques,” she adds.
Looking through the notebook of Dr Han, you’ll notice her meticulousness in making medical records. At FV Hospital, doctors are well-supported by medical secretaries and a sophisticated IT system, but Dr Han still takes down copious details in her notebook, filling out many columns and rows as she makes notes about her patients.
Dr Han’s skills, knowledge and conscientious conduct has earned her a well-deserved reputation as an excellent, multifaceted physician.