Unity creates strength. In some cases, unity even decides the survival and development of a collective, a nation. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the strength of national unity once again shined through.
|Some medical staff have worked for months on end with barely a break to recover, Photo: Nguyen A |
Throughout Vietnam’s long history of wars, no matter how strong our opponent was, it fought, won, and created miracles thanks to the spirit of solidarity and national pride. President Ho Chi Minh once said, “In the sky, nothing is more precious than the people. In the world, nothing is stronger than a united force.”
Japanese writer Ryunosuke Satoro shared the same ideology. “Separately, each of us is just a drop of water. Together, we are the ocean.” As Vietnam goes through a modern-day war with the pandemic, it has been proven that difficult circumstances only serve as a driving force for the Vietnamese people’s spirit of unity and love.
In July 2021, when the Delta variant hit Ho Chi Minh City, the country focused its entire human and material resources southbound to assist the Southern provinces. Stories of doctors and nurses who postponed their weddings to serve their country touched millions of people, like nurse Ngoc Diep from Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi or doctor Dinh Hoang from Hung Vuong Hospital in Phu Tho. Some others went as far as hiding their mission from their families to keep them at ease, like doctors Nguyen Thi Hue and Ta Van Thanh from Bach Mai Hospital.
The shortage of medical supplies at the early stages of the pandemic also posed great dangers for the medical teams. According to D. Tran Binh Giang, director at the Vietnam-Germany Hospital, there were times when doctors had to use low-quality masks due to scarcity of resources, putting their lives at risk. It was also an unsaid common practice to keep from going to the bathroom to save on protective suits. In times when the pandemic was at its peak, medical staff have demonstrated not only professionality and unyielding endurance, but also devotion and willingness to sacrifice for the common good.
Upon returning from Ho Chi Minh City, many doctors and nurses shared the same sentiment that they had lived unforgettable days with enough pain and suffering for a lifetime. But for a lot of them, it was also the most meaningful time when their contribution was needed and thousands of lives were touched. The past two years have brought loss and pain, but some would argue that it was merely another time when Vietnam’s bravery and endurance were put to the test.
In 2020, when Danang became one of the pandemic hot spots, support flooded in from all over the country. There, the concepts of gratitude kitchens, free meals, and free trips started and were replicated in other hotspots at the time, such as Hai Duong, Bac Giang, Ho Chi Minh City, and other southern provinces. Local community groups were also formed. Retired medical staff, soldiers, teachers, monks, and people from all walks of life volunteered to support the frontline staff in the fight against the pandemic. Tasks like guarding medical checkpoints, distributing supplies, providing care for the sick and orphaned children, and burying the dead were taken upon by both social workers and volunteers.
In addition, within the daily selling-and-buying economy, creative philanthropic models like rice ATMs, oxygen ATMs, and zero-VND supermarkets were born and quickly became dominant in low-income areas. These models were the products of collectives and individuals who took the initiative to fight with technology and original ideas.
Another example would be the establishment of the national vaccine fund. Immediately after its establishment, the fund quickly received support from a large number of individuals and organisations, both throughout the country and overseas.
Recalling these stories reinforces the belief that solidarity shines through difficult times. Reflecting on what the country has been through fortifies confidence in the future. No matter what happens, the tradition of unity, wisdom, and benevolence that every Vietnamese person embodies will keep them moving forward and coming out stronger.
|Incomplete statistics from the healthcare sector show that the total number of healthcare workers participating in pandemic support in Ho Chi Minh City and the southern provinces was nearly 24,000 people. An estimated 2,300 health workers have been infected, some of whom have sadly passed away. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh recognised that all medical staff in the fight against the pandemic represented beautiful flowers, inspiring the virtue of sacrifice, responsibility, and faith. |