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LFHC’s “Carry-On” Wishlist for Volunteers

These are hospital supplies that our staff has dubbed the “carry-on wishlist.” LFHC gratefully accepts any of these items brought to the hospital by volunteers as donations.

Item Details or other comments
General Medical Consumables
Dermabond or similar skin glue for closing lacerations Note, this is not the same as the mastisol that is on the list – that is for securing dressings on wet skin
Burns dressings Particularly useful are: paraffin gauze dressings like jellonet or bactigras, acticoat, or grassolind.
Alginate dressings Aquacell, Kaltostat or similar. Squares or ribbon
Paediatric/neonatal PICC lines
Umbilical catheters/lines Size 3.5 preferable
Simple non-adhesive dressings (eg. melolite, telfa, simple post-operative dressings)
Idoform packing gauze – ribbon strip (aka iodine soaked ribbon gauze) Please ensure expiration date is OK
Cleaning wipes such as clinell/caviwipes
EZIO Pediatric Needle Sets 15mm and 25mm (05301PD)
Collar and cuff arm sling
Seldinger chest drain kits Size 12G and 18G
Frosted microscope slides
Stat Strip Express Nova Glucose Strips Reference number: 42214
Nova Stat Strip Xpress Glucose/Ketone QC Level 1 and 3. Reference Numbers: 46947 and 46949
Pasteur pipettes
Pipettes tips (small and large)
Liquid dispensing bottles (for pharmacy) e.g.:
Hypafix dressing tape
Three way IV extension tubing
Three way taps
Thomas Splint
Phototherapy eyes protectors for neonates
Paediatric spinal collars
Vaccuum for cast cutter
Casting materials for spica casts
Pediatric bronchoscope Need both a flexible and a rigid one
Acyclovir 3% eye ointment
Acyclovir injection
Antibiotic eye ointment gentamicin, tobramycin, or erythromycin
Permethrin cream
Atropine eyedrops
Beclamethasone inhaler
Calcium Carbonate (Tums) Or similar calcium containing product
IV Caffeine
EMLA/Amethocaine cream/Local anaesthetic cream for IV cannula insertion
Ferrous fumarate (iron solution)
IV Indomethacin
Lacri-lube eye ointment, 2.5 g
Lidocaine 1% injection
Lidocaine 2.5% / Prilocaine 2.5% topical cream Emla
Methylprednisolone injection
Naloxone injection
Ondansetron injection
Ondansetron oral dissolving tablets – 4 mg.
Pain Ease (topical anesthetic skin refrigerant)
Permethin 1% topical shampoo (for head lice)
Permethrin 5% topical lotion (for scabies)
Polyethylene glycol powder (Brand name is Lax-a-day or Miralax)
Ranitidine solution
Sodium Valproate suspension (bottle)
Steroid inhalers (beclomethasone)
Tetracaine 4% topical cream Ametop
Tetracaine eye drops
Triple Antibiotic Ointment Polysporin or equivalent; 15 gram tubes
Vancomycin injection
Zinc tablets
Non-Medical Items
Washable plastic toys
Simple board games
Blankets for neonates
Medical play kits
Cloth Dolls
Disposable Stethoscopes
Colorful Bandaids
Coloring books
Simple children’s books
ESL novels and books for our Lao staff to practice reading
Simple high school level biology and anatomy textbooks
Paints for handprints at end of life
*While all donations are valued we would prefer that people do not donate things which are not sustainable in this environment – for example things with consumables which we can’t obtain (eg. glucometers, special feeding tubes, airway circuits)

Physio Team Helps Khmu Boy Recover from Fall

While climbing a tree near his home, 5-year-old Ker Hardjorng slipped and fell roughly 12 feet to the ground. The fall rendered him unconscious, so his worried parents immediately began an 11-hour journey to Lao Friends Hospital for Children.

Ker remained unconscious for several hours during the trip. Upon the family’s arrival at LFHC, doctors noted that Kerr seemed semi-conscious and clearly had suffered a leg fracture.

Ker’s family is Khmu, the largest minority ethnic group in northern Laos. Fortunately, some LFHC staff members are Khmu and were available to serve as translators for the doctors and nurses.

The doctors ordered an emergency CT Scan, which showed a swelling of Ker’s brain and the presence of blood and fluid in the middle of the brain.

Ker was treated for his leg fracture and given medication to reduce his blood pressure and ease his pain, but there was doubt that he could survive the injuries. The LFHC team informed his parents about the severity of Ker’s condition. Some Lao families choose to take their sick or injured child home if the prognosis of recovery is grim. Ker’s family decided the LFHC was the best place for their son.

A few days later, Ker awakened in his hospital bed to find he couldn’t move his limbs on the left side of his body. He felt very disoriented and afraid.

During the subsequent month, doctors continued to treat Kerr and the physical therapy team worked very closely with him and his mother. The team helped Kerr gain strength and progress from wheelchair to crutches. They also helped him relearn to speak, write and count. The hospital’s nutrition team also worked with Kerr, who had to be fed through a nasogastric tube when he first arrived at LFHC. Gradually, Kerr was able to feed himself once again.

After a monthlong recovery at LFHC, Kerr waved goodbye to the staff as he walked out of the hospital with his grateful mother. He still returns for follow-up examinations and the staff is always happy to see him.


Friends Without A Border Launches Fundraiser for Meds

Our doctors and nurses are treating record numbers of children. As the caseload increases, so do many of the hospital’s expenses. Medicine is one of LFHC’s largest expenses.

We’ve launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for medicine. Here’s a link to our GoFundMe page. We set our goal at $25,000. Yes, that seems like a lofty goal. But Friends Without A Border was founded upon a lofty goal: To ensure that no family loses a child because they cannot afford the medicine to save their child’s life.

Please help us reach this goal. If you cannot make a contribution, please spread the word. Tell your family and friends. Post a link to our GoFundMe campaign on your Facebook page and your Instagram page. Tweet about it.

We cannot thank you enough for your support.

LFHC Forges Relationship with Red Cross

LFHC recently developed a new and important relationship with the Swiss Red Cross.

Our hospital staff trained Red Cross health care workers from various districts in Laos in techniques designed to promote breastfeeding among new mothers. Our staff developed a two-day curriculum during which they taught 10 Swiss Red Cross and government employees how to counsel mothers on breastfeeding and proper diet. A focus of the effort is to stress the importance of breastfeeding to the health of a newborn infant.

This new relationship with the Swiss Red Cross furthers LFHC’s capacity-building efforts in the country. By maintaining an effective Outreach Team and working with other nonprofits, hospitals and the Lao government, LFHC is expanding its services and knowledge beyond its hospital walls.

A Case Study: Successfully Treating Severe Malnutrition

Chanmee Loa was brought to LFHC this month by her alarmed parents after she had suffered through four consecutive days of periodic vomiting. Her family said Chanmee was 11 years old, but she appeared to be much younger.

Doctors determined that Chanmee was not only afflicted with typhoid, but also showed signs of severe acute malnutrition (SAM). They immediately gave her a multivitamin, the antibiotic ceftriaxone, iron and albendazole, which is used to fight infections caused by parasitic worms. She was also given F100, a therapeutic milk formula, to treat severe malnutrition.

Chanmee soon began to recover. The LFHC Nutrition Team then stepped in to counsel her parents about their daughter’s condition and the need to provide her a more appropriate and nutritious diet.

When Chanmee was younger, her parents fed her meat, some vegetables and fruits. If she became sick after eating any of those foods, her parents stopped giving them to her. This gradually led to a very restricted diet that lacked many of the vitamins and nutrients she needed.

While the hospital’s nutritionist educated the parents about proper diet and helped the family acquire the right foods, the LFHC Physiotherapy Team helped Chanmee build her strength and mobility.

Chanmee’s case is but one example of how talented physicians and a hospital equipped with the right prescription medicine can improve, if not save, the life of a child.

LFHC Caseload Reaches Record Numbers

Doctors and nurses at LFHC are seeing a record number of patients every month this year.

Although the number of children admitted as inpatients is stable, those who are hospitalized are staying longer because of the serious nature of their conditions. The Inpatient Unit currently cares for three children with severe burns from contact with electric wires. Two children have had amputations of their arms and one is being treated for a deep wound on the front of his leg.

Four children are being treated with high doses of antibiotics for osteomyelitis, a rare, but serious infection of a bone.

“These children require an enormous amount of medical, nursing and operating theatre time,” said LFHC Executive Director Simon Young. “As with any child hospitalized for a long period of time, the importance of our physiotherapy and child life teams cannot be understated.”

LFHC treated a record number of children every month during the first half of 2018.

LFHC Sees Surge in Outpatient and ER Caseloads

Doctors and nurses working in the Outpatient Department and Emergency Room at Lao Friends Hospital for Children treated a record number of patients during the first five months of the year. The dramatic growth in caseload testifies to how critically important LFHC is to the families living in the region.

Families brought 8,078 children to the Outpatient Department from January through May, a whopping 43-percent increase from the first five months of 2017;

In the ER, where the more serious cases are treated, our staff helped 1,773 children, a 36-percent increase in patients from the same time period in 2017.

The number of children hospitalized during the first five months of the year is comparable to the number recorded in 2017. LFHC had 858 inpatient visits from January through May; a total of 883 children were hospitalized during the same period in 2017.

“As our current staff are working to maximal capacity in terms of hours and effort, it has been necessary to recruit new staff to cope with this increase in demand,” wrote LFHC Executive Director Dr. Simon Young in reporting the caseload statistics.

“The number of children presenting to the hospital and the severity of their conditions has been increasing steadily since the opening of the hospital,” he added.

LFHC’s New External Affairs Director

Anabella Coria Zavala has joined the staff at LFHC as the hospital’s director of external relations.

Anabella has worked for non-governmental organizations in Latin America and Asia in projects that focus on children’s rights and women’s empowerment. She was a Save the Children intern in strategic partnerships as a university student in Monterrey, Mexico, and after graduating became the executive assistant to the director and co-founder of Mayan Families in Guatemala.

In 2015, she volunteered in an education project in Cambodia and in 2017 she entered the Fellow Program of the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh where she was the coordinator of the Center for Teaching and Scholarship.

Anabella earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Mexico, her home country, and an MA in conflict resolution from the University of Essex in England.

In her role as director of external relations, she is responsible for fostering relationships with the Lao community and supervising operations of the Friends Gallery in Luang Prabang. She will also play an important role in organizing and promoting the Luang Prabang Half Marathon and the event’s gala.

Anabella replaces Rie Tai, who left the position in late May to pursue a master’s degree in public health in the U.S.


Child Life Specialist Awarded Scholarship

In early May, Kongmeng Sialee, the first and only Child Life Therapist at LFHC, was awarded one of five international scholarships by the Association of Child Life Professionals.

In granting the award, the ACLP noted that Kongmeng has successfully integrated psychosocial care into the operations of LFHC. He helps children cope during their hospital stay and prepares children for medical procedures by using therapeutic and medical play.

The award ceremony took place at the organization’s annual conference in Washington D.C. Kongmeng was joined by Friends Without A Border Executive Director Nicole Pagourgis at the conference.

“It was amazing,” Kongmeng said about the award and his first visit to the United States.

The Child Life Annual Conference is the world’s largest gathering of child life professionals and a unique opportunity to learn about the latest research, share and learn child-life techniques and meet new child life therapists from around the world. Kongmeng shared the techniques he uses at LFHC to conference attendees and said he is very interested in applying new techniques he learned at the conference at LFHC, such as creating a “patient experience booklet.”

While in Washington, Kongmeng also visited a pediatric hospital to meet their child life team, visited national landmarks and sampled American food! He said he made new friends and will continue to be in touch with them.

LFHC would like to extend its thanks to Justin Petakus, former child life volunteer at the hospital, who encouraged Kongmeng to apply for the scholarship. Justin also flew into Washington to congratulate Kongmeng.