West Germany, which once refused military assistance for South Vietnam, has made its contribution to the war through humanitarian efforts.
West Germany, which once refused military assistance for South Vietnam, has made its contribution to the war through humanitarian efforts. It has provided the "Helgoland", a hospital ship, in answer to former United States President Lyndon Johnson's request for assistance in Vietnam.
A former passenger liner, the "Helgoland" costs West Germany three million dollars (one million 250 thousand sterling) a year to operate. In the three years she has been in service in Vietnam she has treated more than 7,000 war victims.
The medical staff ask no question as to wether a patient is a Viet Cong or a Government patriot. All receive equal attention. the majority of patients admitted to the ship are suffering from diseases. Tuberculosis in high, and so too is leprosy and malaria.
Apart from the ships crew of 25 the "Helgoland" carries a medical staff of 46, including eight doctors and 27 nurses. It is expected to be in Vietnam for at least another 18 months until a permanent 200 bed hospital is constructed on shore.