One of the most wretched problems facing the South Vietnamese government in civilian war casualties - rehabilitation for the tens of thousands who are maimed.
One of the most wretched problems facing the South Vietnamese government in civilian war casualties - rehabilitation for the tens of thousands who are maimed. It is estimated that every city, town, village and hamlet in South Vietnam has at least one person who is deformed or missing a limb through war.
Leading the effort to make life less bleak for the war casualties is the National Rehabilitation Centre which has a branch in each of the four military regions. It has a full-time workshop turning out artificial limbs.
The centre was originally established for the treatment of disabled soldiers, but in 1966 when the war was beginning to take a heavy toll of civilians it was thrown open to all casualties. All treatment is free. Many of the casualties leave the centre not only with new limbs but also something to look forward to: a job. The centre has a special centre for vocational training.
The Saigon branch has only six doctors who, in their long hours of work, can take some comfort in the fact that civilian war casualties are on the decline. According to American figures, the monthly average toll has dropped from more than 7,000 in 1968 to under 5,000 so far this year.
It is the child victims whose lives have been devastated more than anyone else's. Many of them have suffered shocking deformities - some of them caused by action by Saigon government forces. Others have lost not only their limbs but also their parents and relatives.
The crying of the children underlines the tragic future many of them face. But the National Rehabilitation ???ntre of South Vietnam is doing its best to eliminate the suffering and deficiencies by equipping its patients for as good a life as possible in a country ripped by war.