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March Newsletter: LFHC Celebrates Women Staff Members

Surgery Saves 5-Month-Old Baby

   Five-month-old Nouxeng Wang had been sick for five days before he was brought to LFHC. He had been vomiting after being fed and passing bloody stools.

   Doctors suspected intussusception – a condition in which one segment of bowel telescopes into another, causing an obstruction. It’s critically important to identify and treat this condition promptly. Without emergency surgery, a child can become very sick and risks losing a portion of bowel.

   In Nouxeng’s case, our doctors quickly made the diagnosis, which was confirmed with ultrasound imaging performed by the radiology team.

   The life-saving surgical procedure was performed by a surgeon from Luang Prabang Provincial Hospital and Nouxeng is now recovering nicely in the Inpatient Department and almost ready to return home with his family.

Celebrating LFHC’s Women Staff Members

   LFHC observed International Women’s Day on March 8 by celebrating all the remarkable women who work at the hospital, many in leadership positions.

This year’s theme was “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”

   Since opening in 2015, LFHC has embraced objectives to promote gender equality and advance the status of women and girls. LFHC has championed those objectives through its recruitment, education opportunities and career development initiatives.

   At LFHC, women currently hold the positions of Acting Medical Director, Medical Education Director, Outreach Program Director and Director of Development and Public Relations. Moreover, the hospital’s four senior doctors and about half of all staff doctors are women. Among the nursing staff, 10 out of 15 nursing leaders are women, as are 42 of the hospital’s 64 nurses.

   As a teaching hospital, LFHC’s training and education programs create career advancement opportunities for women at the hospital and in other segments of the Lao healthcare industry.

  Improving Quality of Care

   Providing the best possible medical care for children is important to hospitals and healthcare facilities all over the world. To promote the quality of pediatric care, the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a quality-of-care framework, standards of care for children and guidelines for evidence-based practice.

   At LFHC, the staff has been adopting WHO’s recommendations and the importance of working in a collaborative way to improve the quality of care for children. This includes changing work processes to implement standards and guidelines, sharing the lessons of common indicators and using them to measure progress. Collaboration extends outside the hospital to include district or regional health leaders and community representatives.

  Pediatric Training Enters New Phase

   The hospital’s new program to train staff doctors in pediatric medicine is about to enter a new phase.

   Junior doctors participating in the program are taking a Foundation Course exam this month. The exam for senior doctors is scheduled for April.

   Those who pass the exam will begin a new three-year training program that culminates in a Certificate of Pediatrics. The program is comparable to a pediatric residency.

   The program is financed by a generous grant from the Moving Child foundation.

  LFHC’s Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Nutrition

   The hospital has set up a new multidisciplinary nutrition team to focus on measures that should be continued and those that should be improved to promote the nutritional wellbeing of our patients.

  The nutrition staff met with doctors and nurses last month for the first time and discussed a range of topics, including efforts to promote breastfeeding and reduce the amount of formula offered to babies in the hospital. They also developed a plan to provide key nutrition training to the team.

   Malnutrition is one of the biggest health problems in Laos and a major contributor to the nation’s high infant mortality rate. Malnutrition in infants is partly caused by inadequate breastfeeding. Encouraging breastfeeding will directly contribute to better nutrition of babies and therefore have a positive impact on health outcomes in the local community.

  Caseload Update

   February was another busy month for LFHC doctors and nurses. Just over 1,100 children were brought to the Emergency Room and another 1,510 children were treated in the Outpatient Department. Forty-eight infants were admitted to the Neonatal Unit and 201 children were hospitalized during the month. The Thalassemia clinic cared for 52 patients.

International Virtual Gala: Save the Date!

   The coronavirus pandemic will once again prevent us from getting together at a New York Gala to celebrate and support Lao Friends Hospital for Children. So, this year we will try something different: our first International Virtual Gala.

Friends Without A Border will honor film star Richard Gere and the Dentons law firm and attorney Walter Van Dorn at this digital fundraiser, which will feature entertainment by Broadway star Lea Salonga.

The International Virtual Gala will be available to viewers in the U.S. and Canada on May 6 and in Asia, Australia and New Zealand on May 7.

Information about tickets and sponsorships will be forthcoming.

Please mark your calendar and save the date!

February Newsletter: Treating Infant Infection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staff Treats Boy’s Chronic Kidney Condition

   Twelve-year-old Vee Wang was struggling to breathe when he was admitted to LFHC earlier this month. Our Lao doctors found that a large amount of fluid had collected in his chest, compromising his breathing.

   The doctors were able to drain the fluid, which immediately relieved Vee’s labored breathing. They learned that the boy had a three-year history of recurrent swelling of his legs and abdomen. Their diagnosis: a kidney condition called nephrotic syndrome, which caused him to retain fluid.

   As the underlying problem is loss of protein via the kidneys, the team also gave him infusions of a substance called 20% albumin to raise the level of protein in the blood. This helps the fluid in his legs and abdomen to cross back into the bloodstream, thus reducing the swelling. He is now recovering nicely.

   Vee’s type of nephrotic syndrome is likely complicated and chronic and he will need long-term medication and follow-up as an outpatient. We see several patients with this condition each year and so the Lao team is experienced in diagnosing and managing it. The homecare team is routinely involved in the discharge, planning and follow-up care for our nephrotic syndrome patients and the nutrition team provides important nutritional education for parents.

Most Common Diagnosis in Neonatal Unit: Neonatal Sepsis

   Neonatal sepsis, a bacterial bloodstream infection, is the most common diagnosis in newborns admitted to the Neonatal Unit. The infection is the primary diagnosis in 42% of the unit’s patients, according to the most recent data from the hospital. This is in keeping with a recent study that found that 48% of neonates admitted to provincial hospitals in Laos had sepsis or other infections.

   Antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment. Many babies also need supportive care, including intravenous fluids and/or glucose, assistance with breastfeeding and sometimes oxygen or CPAP to support breathing. Almost all babies make a full recovery and their long-term prognosis is usually excellent.

   Neonatal sepsis is the third leading cause of neonatal deaths worldwide. Thanks to your support, the Neonatal Unit is making a significant contribution to neonatal survival in Laos.

   Read more here.

LFHC Meets Challenges to Medical Education Posed by Pandemic

   As a teaching hospital, LFHC continuously provides medical training to its physicians, nurses and healthcare providers. However, the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus did have an impact on medical education at the hospital.

The doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, who came from other countries to volunteer as teachers and mentors at LFHC, returned to their home countries when the Lao government imposed strict travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

Despite their absence, medical education at the hospital continues. LFHC clinical managers and senior Lao staff are teaching a variety of clinical topics (Child Life Therapist Kongmeng Sialee, pictured here, demonstrates comfort positioning for children). And several of the ex-pat volunteers are conducting online sessions for our hospital staff on such topics as laboratory analysis, nutrition and pharmacology.

It is also noteworthy that there has been no interruption in the hospital’s Pediatric Training Program, a new curriculum-based program for staff physicians developed by Medical Education Director Dr. Rathi Guhadasan. The three-year training program, comparable to a pediatric residency, culminates in a Certificate of Pediatrics.

  Caseload Update

   January proved to be a busy month for LFHC doctors and nurses. Nearly 1,200 children were brought to the Emergency Room and another 1,535 children were treated in the Outpatient Department. Forty-four infants were admitted to the Neonatal Unit and 233 children were cared for as inpatients in the hospital during the month.

Most Common Diagnosis in Neonatal Unit: Neonatal Sepsis

Neonatal sepsis, a bacterial bloodstream infection, is the most common diagnosis in newborns admitted to the Neonatal Unit. Many babies may also have specific infections such as pneumonia or meningitis. Neonatal sepsis is the primary diagnosis in 42% of the unit’s patients, according to the most recent data from the hospital. This is in keeping with a recent study which found that 48% of neonates admitted to provincial hospitals in Laos had sepsis or other infections1.

Neonatal sepsis can be caused by such bacteria as Group B streptococcus and E. coli. The early signs of infection in neonates can be subtle and doctors need to be alert to these, as well to known risk factors for neonatal infection, such as when the mother has a fever or her waters break several hours before delivery. The obstetric team at the Provincial Hospital within which we are housed, alert the neonatal team to any delivery with risk factors for sepsis.

The mainstay of treatment is antibiotics and many babies also need supportive care, including intravenous fluids and/or glucose, assistance with breastfeeding and sometimes oxygen or CPAP to support breathing. Almost all babies make a full recovery and their long-term prognosis is usually excellent.

Globally, neonatal mortality accounts for almost half of all deaths under the age of five. Neonatal sepsis is the third leading cause of neonatal deaths worldwide and was the second in the recent Lao study cited above. Thanks to your support, the Neonatal Unit is making a significant contribution to neonatal survival in Laos.

  1. Neonatal Mortality and Morbidity in Regional Provincial Hospitals in the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos. Schmidt et al, Journal of Tropical Pediatrics, Volume 62, Issue 3, June 2016, Pages 213–219

January Newsletter: Hospital Caseload Surges

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Response Saves Infant’s Life

   Immediately after baby Sonesiphone was born at a hospital in Oudomxay Province, his parents saw that something was seriously wrong. They feared that their newborn son would not survive and decided to rush him to Lao Friends Hospital for Children. It was a long and stressful journey of seven hours.

   The infant was admitted to the Emergency Room upon their arrival and the ER team immediately recognized his condition as gastroschisis. This is a condition in which the baby’s abdominal wall is imperfectly formed and intestines develop outside the body.

   Doctors prescribed treatments of IV amino acids, fluids and antibiotics while a surgeon attached a plastic silo bag to protect his organs. When the swelling in his intestines subsided six weeks later, a surgery team closed the hole in his abdomen. He has recovered and returned home with his parents.

   LFHC has treated several infants born with gastroschisis during the past five years. The first life-saving treatment of one of these infants occurred in 2016 during the 2nd anniversary celebration of the opening of the hospital — an event attended by Dr. Tim Weiner, who was a board member of Friends Without A Border at the time and who happened to be a pediatric surgeon.

   Read more here.

Caseload Update

   Caseload records show that the number of children treated at LFHC has returned to levels reported before the coronavirus pandemic forced the government to impose a national lockdown.

   The staff treated 2,573 children last month, slightly more than the 2,547 treated in December 2019. More than 3,000 children were treated in November and nearly that many in October.

   Laos continues to carefully monitor people entering the country. Authorities in every province bordering Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and China record information about every individual entering Laos and check body temperature of every individual at border crossings.

   Laos has reported very few cases of COVID-19 since Dec. 7 and has recorded a total of only 44 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

Volunteer Returns as Acting Medical Director

   Dr. Carolyn Maclennan has returned to LFHC to serve as Acting Medical Director. A pediatrician and international health consultant, she worked as a volunteer at the hospital in 2018.

   Dr. Maclennan typically works as a pediatrician in Australia with Indigenous communities. Before coming to Laos, she was working with the World Health Organization on newborn care. She has worked in maternal, newborn and child health initiatives in many countries, especially in the Asia Pacific Region.

   Welcome back, Dr. Maclennan!

   Pediatrician Speaks at National Conference

   Dr. Dorkeo Bouaphao, the first LFHC doctor to complete the Pediatric Residency Program in Vientiane, recently delivered a lecture on paragonimus infection at an annual meeting of the Lao Pediatric Association.

Dr. Bouaphao’s presentation focused on the case of a 5-year-old afflicted with a paragonimus infection in a lung. The infection is caused by eating uncooked shellfish carrying the paragonimus parasite.

The meeting was attended by pediatricians from across Laos as well as those teaching in hospitals, universities and at the national pediatric residency program.

In addition to Dr. Bouaphao, attendees from LFHC included Drs. Somchittana Soulalay, Somphonekeo Santisouk and Annkham Thammaseng. Dr. Soulalay, who has retired from government service (although she continues to work tirelessly for LFHC), received public recognition at the conference for her contribution to child healthcare in Laos.

LFHC Welcomes New
Management Team Member

   Patricia Cliff has joined the staff at LFHC as the hospital’s Director of Development and Public Relations.

   Ms. Cliff brings skills in research and experience in marketing and communications. She has experience in writing grants and has volunteered with several charities and social enterprises in the United Kingdom.

   Her previous role was as Group Content Writer for a Destination Management Company based in Luang Prabang.

Gastroschisis: LFHC Saves Another Infant’s Life

Immediately after baby Sonesiphone was born at a hospital in Oudomxay Province, his parents saw that something was seriously wrong. They feared that their newborn son would not survive and decided to rush him to Lao Friends Hospital for Children. It was a long and stressful journey of seven hours.

The infant was admitted to Emergency Room upon their arrival and the ER team immediately recognized his condition as gastroschisis. This is a condition in which the baby’s abdominal wall is imperfectly formed and intestines develop outside the body.

Doctors prescribed treatments of IV amino acids, fluids and antibiotics while a surgeon attached a plastic silo bag to protect his organs. When the swelling in his intestines subsided six weeks later, a surgery team closed the hole in his abdomen. He has recovered and returned home with his parents.

LFHC has treated several infants born with gastroschisis during the past five years. The first life-saving treatment of one of these infants occurred in 2016 during the 2nd anniversary celebration of the hospital’s opening. Dr. Tim Wiener, then one of the board members of Friends Without A Border, happened to be attending the event at the hospital.

Upon hearing about the infant boy’s condition, Dr. Wiener, a pediatric surgeon, immediately left the anniversary celebration and joined a surgical team in the hospital. He showed the team how to protect the baby’s intestines and how to subsequently care for him.

Despite the infant’s premature birth weight and the host of infections and fevers that followed in the coming weeks, the team of loving parents, dedicated volunteers and talented medical staff was able to keep the baby alive.

December Newsletter: Wishing You Health and Happiness

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staff Saves 2 Babies Afflicted with Beriberi

   Beriberi is quite common in northern Laos and can be life-threatening for infants. Last month, LFHC doctors saved the lives of two critically ill babies afflicted with beriberi.

   Two-month-old Arvid Xong was close to death when his parents brought him to the hospital’s Emergency Room. As soon as he arrived, the triage nurse noted that he wasn’t breathing and a doctor found that he also had no pulse. The team immediately started to resuscitate him, using CPR, adrenaline, fluids and antibiotics. They quickly determined that he was solely breastfed by his mother who was on a restrictive diet, so they administered thiamine (vitamin B1) as well.

   One hour after arrival, Arvid was stable and breathing, supported by our CPAP machine. In the ensuing days, Arvid steadily improved. He was discharged after two weeks and will be followed up in the hospital’s Development Clinic, but it is hoped that he will develop normally.

   The other case involved 2-month-old Thai Lee, who came to LFHC close to cardiac arrest. Following resuscitation protocols, the team supported his breathing, performed CPR and administered adrenaline. Doctors also quickly administered intravenous vitamin B1 after noting that Thai was exclusively breastfed, was in shock and had an enlarged liver.

   Thai recovered but a few minutes later, he arrested. He was given CPR and adrenaline, and this time he recovered and stabilized. The CPAP machine was used to support his breathing. He was given Intravenous medication to support his blood pressure and antibiotics to cover for the possibility of infection. He was discharged five days later, after completing a course of antibiotics.

   These two cases illustrate the importance and effectiveness of pediatric resuscitation training, and show how our team is able to transfer that training to their clinical practice, work together and do everything that they can to save their patients.

   Read more about treating Arvid and Thai here.

Outreach Team Helps Local Orphanage

   The hospital’s Outreach Team recently helped a local orphanage battle an outbreak of scabies among its children.

   The problem came to the attention of our staff when one of the orphans was brought to LFHC after scratching rashes to the extent that she developed wounds that became infected. Scabies is a contagious skin condition caused by microscopic mites.

   The Outreach Team conducted a lecture on scabies at the orphanage, which is about a ten-minute drive from Luang Prabang. Medications were applied to all the children and the orphanage staff immediately washed all linens, mattresses and clothing.

   The orphanage is one of the few that exist in Laos and is operated by the Lao government.

Outreach Team Gains Social Worker

   The hospital has hired a social worker to join the Outreach Team.

   Bounmy Ly (left in the photo), began his new position at the hospital by mentoring with Child Life Therapist Kongmeng Sialee (right in photo). The mentorship will provide Bounmy insights into the practice of compassionate care, which is a hallmark of the medical treatment offered at the hospital, explained Outreach Program Director Kazumi Akao. Bounmy’s position at LFHC is his first hospital job.

    Welcome Bounmy!

Former Nursing Director Returns

   Matt Evans, former Director of Nursing at LFHC, has returned to the hospital to serve once again in that position on an interim basis.

   Matt has held the position of Medical Director at Confirm Testing in London, England, for the past six months and prior to that was a Health Project Manager for Terre das Hommes in Bangladesh for six months.

   He served as LFHC’s nursing director from October 2016 to November 2018. Prior to that, he spent five months as a volunteer nurse at the hospital.

   Welcome back, Matt!

Cyclists Raise $17K for Neonatal Unit

   Team Dai, an international cycling community based in Vientiane, made a $17,000 donation to LFHC this month — money raised by team members who bicycled nearly 250 miles (400 km) to support Lao organizations.

   Twenty-seven riders made the trek from Viengkham to Thakhek, in four days. They peddled up mountains, crossed wobbly bridges and traversed picturesque rice fields.

   The donation from the team’s 2020 Challenge Ride will support the hospital’s Neonatal Unit. The money will be used to purchase six 50 ml syringe pumps and one bed warmer.

   Team Dai has raised nearly $200,000 for Lao community organizations since organizing its first fundraising ride in 2008.

   Many thanks to Team Dai!

Caseload Update

   November proved to be a busy month for LFHC’s doctors and nurses. More than 1,990 children were brought to the Outpatient Department and another 1,248 children were treated in the Emergency Room. The Development Clinic welcomed 12 new children, bringing its total caseload to 31 patients. The Neonatal Unit staff cared for 58 infants during November.

Staff Saves 2 Babies with Life-Threatening Beriberi

Beriberi is quite common in northern Laos and can be life-threatening for infants. Last month, LFHC doctors saved the lives of two critically ill babies afflicted with beriberi.

Two-month-old Airvid Xong was close to death when his parents brought him to the hospital’s Emergency Room, His illness had started three days earlier with a simple runny nose and cough, but now he had difficulty breathing, was vomiting and unable to breastfeed.

As soon as he arrived, the triage nurse noted that he wasn’t breathing and alerted the team. The doctors ascertained that he also had no pulse and started to resuscitate him, using CPR, adrenaline, fluids and antibiotics. They quickly determined that he was solely breastfed and his mother was on a restrictive “taboo” diet, so they administered thiamine (vitamin B1) as well.

Airvid was so shocked that the staff was unable to obtain intravenous access in the usual way, so they inserted needles into a bone and a central vein in his groin to administer the life-saving treatment. Outreach staff supported the parents through these traumatic events.

One hour after arrival, Airvid was stable and breathing, supported by our CPAP machine. However, the team remained concerned about his prognosis, as his brain and other organs had been deprived of oxygen for at least some minutes prior to arrival and during his arrest, and his parents were told to expect the worst. Shortly after resuscitation, Airvid developed seizures, which were treated but seemed to confirm everyone’s fears.

In the ensuing days however, Airvid steadily improved. The team was able to stop his seizure medication and his parents felt that he was back to his normal self. The day that his mother was able to breastfeed him again was a memorable day in Inpatient Department. He was discharged after two weeks and will be followed up in the hospital’s Development Clinic, but it is hoped that he will develop normally.

The other case of infantile beriberi last month involved 2-month-old Thai Lee, who came to LFHC close to cardiac arrest.

Following resuscitation protocols, the team supported his breathing, performed CPR and administered adrenaline. Doctors also quickly administered intravenous vitamin B1 after noting that Thai was exclusively breastfed, was in shock and had an enlarged liver. Thai’s heart rate then recovered but a few minutes later, he arrested. He was given CPR and adrenaline, and this time he recovered and stabilized. The CPAP machine was used to support his breathing. He was given Intravenous medication to support his blood pressure and antibiotics to cover for the possibility of infection.

Thai Lee

Two hours after arriving in the ER, Thai was stable enough to move into the Inpatient Department and was taken off CPAP the following morning. By that time, he was breastfeeding and back to his normal self. He was discharged five days later, after completing a course of antibiotics.

Vitamin B1 deficiency, or beriberi, is common in northern Laos due to poverty and a cultural practice of restricting breastfeeding mothers’ diets. Many of these women develop numbness of their arms and legs from the B1 deficiency, as was the case with Thai Lee’s mother. This is often life-threatening for their infants, who develop a type of heart failure and shock, but our staff is experienced enough to instantly recognize and treat it.

These two cases also illustrate the importance and effectiveness of pediatric resuscitation training, and show how our team is able to transfer that training to their clinical practice, work together and do everything that they can to save their patients.

LFHC has been hosting an external research study on infantile beriberi since 2019.

 

Airvid Xong

 

Thai Lee

November Newsletter: A Win for LFHC!

Patient Update: Story of Thongsy

   A few years ago, a father rushed his newborn infant to Lao Friends Hospital for Children after doctors at a provincial hospital had pronounced the baby dead. What the provincial hospital doctors had failed to realize is that the infant, born 12 weeks premature to a critically ill mother, was so tiny that she had an apnea, a suspension of breathing.

   LFHC doctors and nurses saved the baby and our Outreach Team ensured that father and daughter remained a family after the death of his wife. Read more about her story here.

   Today, Kazu Thongsy (she is named after Director of Outreach Program Kazumi Akao) is a happy and active 3-year-old. Her widowed father is a schoolteacher and relies on his extended family to care for his daughter while he is away at school.

   She receives lots of love and care from her large family, especially from her grandmother and uncle. She plays happily with all the other village children and always shares the few toys she has.

Watch the video about Kazu Thongsy here.

Virtual Run for Children: A Win for LFHC!  

   Social distancing requirements sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic forced Friends Without A Border to cancel its annual New York Gala and all of its other live fundraising events in 2020. As a consequence, the organization faced a serious shortfall in its budget for Lao Friends Hospital for Children.

   Undaunted, management for the organization and the hospital came up with a bold idea to generate revenue: the International Virtual Run for Children.

   A virtual run allowed participants to practice social distancing by running, walking or cycling in their neighborhoods (or even at home on treadmills or stationary bikes) thus avoiding mass gatherings typical of marathons and other races.

   The event, which occurred October 16-18, raised more than $115,000. Friends Without A Border extends a warm thank-you to all who participated in this fundraiser and to those who supported the event with their donations.

   Read more here.

Hospital Caseload Surges

   The LFHC team is treating a growing number of patients in all departments. Doctors and nurses treated more than 2,000 children in the Outpatient Department in October — the largest monthly total this year.

   The Development Clinic staff provided care to 19 patients, including eight new children, and the Neonatal Unit cared for 68 infants last month.

Doctors Offer Advice on Patient Referrals

   LFHC doctors crossed the Mekong River recently to meet with their counterparts at Chomphet District Hospital to discuss patient referrals.

   Dr. Annkham Thammaseng and Dr. Daphet Bounpasit (standing left to right in photo) outlined the proper protocol for referring children to LFHC, including advice about the correct telephone communication that is required prior to transferring a patient.

   The referral system is important because LFHC offers the type of pediatric treatment and care that cannot be found elsewhere in northern Laos.

   LFHC plans to introduce this referral education program to other district hospitals in Luang Prabang province.

Staff Gains Insights into Care Management

   Two LFHC staff members recently completed an eight-day training session focused on a holistic system of care aimed at reducing the mortality rate of children in their first five years of life.

   Dr. Vidachan Inthanasith and nurse Khamaxai Xongyikhangsuthor (shown on left in photo) participated in the training, which was hosted by the Lao Department of Health Care and Rehabilitation with the support of UNICEF. They joined more than 30 clinicians from Lao hospitals and health centers.

   The aim of the sessions was to train the participants to be competent to teach their colleagues in Integrated Management of Newborn and Childhood Illnesses (IMNCI).

   IMNCI is a strategy of care that focuses on the wellbeing of whole child and includes preventative and curative elements.

POSITIONS AVAILABLE

The hospital is seeking a Director of Clinical ServicesNurse Educator and Director of Development/Public RelationsThese are salaried positions. Additional information and how to apply can be found here.

Patient Update: Saving an Infant… and a Family

Soon after Kazu Thongsy was born, doctors at a provincial hospital pronounced her dead. What they failed to realize is that the infant, born 12 weeks premature to a critically ill mother, was so tiny that she had an apnea, a suspension of breathing.

Kazu’s distraught father noticed his newborn daughter gasp for air. He told the doctors what he had seen and immediately rushed her to LFHC’s Neonatal Unit.

Our doctors and nurses saved the baby’s life and the hospital’s Outreach team ensured that father and daughter remained a family after the death of his wife. Read more about her story here.

Today, Kazu Thongsy is a happy and active 3-year-old. Her widowed father is a schoolteacher and relies on his extended family to care for his daughter while he is away at school.

She receives lots of love and affection from her large family, especially her grandmother and uncle. She plays happily with all the other village children, sharing the few toys she has.

Watch the video about Kazu Thongsy’s treatment and recovery here.

LFHC Wins with Virtual Run for Children!

Social distancing requirements sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic forced Friends Without A Border to cancel its annual New York Gala and all of its other live fundraising events in 2020. As a consequence, the organization faced a serious shortfall in its budget for Lao Friends Hospital for Children.

Undaunted, management for the organization and the hospital came up with a bold idea to generate revenue: the International Virtual Run for Children.

The event, which occurred October 16-18, raised more than $115,000.

A virtual run allowed participants to practice social distancing by running, walking or cycling in their neighborhoods (or even at home on treadmills or stationary bikes) – thus avoiding mass gatherings typical of marathons and other races.

The event modified the Luang Prabang Half Marathon, the annual fundraiser for the hospital that attracts more than a thousand runners. Travel restrictions imposed by the Lao government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus prevented runners from other countries entering this year’s half marathon. Instead, runners in Luang Prabang were joined this year (in spirit) by runners, walkers and cyclists in England, Germany, Singapore, Canada, Japan, Australia, the U.S. and a few other countries.

Doctors and nurses gathered for a special thank-you photo (below) to show their gratitude to the Lowry family, which raised more than $5,500 in memory of their daughter Sage Lowry, who served at LFHC as a volunteer nurse.

Team We Run raised more than $9,700 in its campaign. In its extraordinary effort, the team ran from the capital city of Vientiane to Luang Prabang, covering a distance of nearly 240 miles.

Friends Without A Border extends a warm thank-you to all who participated in this fundraiser and to those who supported the event with their donations.

Videos of participants in Luang Prabang may be seen here on our YouTube channel.