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Friends Without A Border’s First International Virtual Run for Children

The International Virtual Run for Children 2020 is an extension of the Luang Prabang Half Marathon Run for Children series!

You can participate in this run no matter where you live! You can choose to run anywhere – at home, outdoors, or even on a treadmill!

Distances available:

  • 7 Km
  • 14 Km
  • 21 Km
  • 30 Km for cycling
  • 50 Km for cycling
  • 100 Km for cycling

Participation Date: October 16th -18th 2020

Register here.

If you cannot participate, please make a donation to this fundraiser here.

As a Runner, you can also host your own campaign and ask your loved ones to show their support by sponsoring you! All the amount collected will support Lao Friends Hospital for Children to help them provide free medical care to children in Laos.
Let’s Run together this October!

What is a Virtual Run?

A virtual run is a flexible running event where runners can participate from any international location or time-zone. They may run at home, at a park, or even on a treadmill. The distance, location, and track is decided by the runner himself/herself.

How to record your running result?

  • By using a GPS app to record your result during your run (i.e. Garmin Connect, Fitbit, Apple Health, S Health, Runkeeper, Strava, Endomondo, etc.).
  • By using a health app to record your result during your run (i.e. Garmin Connect, Fitbit, Apple Health, S Health, etc.).
  • By taking a photo or a screenshot of your race result from other running events that you will join during 16th – 18th October 2020. If you happened to run on a treadmill, you can also take a photo of the result once completed your registered distance.

Additional information about this exciting event can be seen here on the registration page.

July Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laos Coronavirus Update 

   Laos has reported no new cases of COVID-19 for 100 consecutive days. Some government restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have been eased but borders remain closed for international visitors with a few exceptions. Those who do enter the country are placed under strict quarantine.

The LFHC team has been treating an increasing number of patients in different departments. During June, outpatient visits increased by 300 more patients than in the previous month (from 1039 in May to 1344 during June). The Emergency Room also experienced a significant increase from 603 cases in May to 747 patients in June. Additionally, the Neonatal Unit occupancy grew to 23 infants for a couple of days during last month.

Triplets Flourish at Neonatal Unit

   On May 13, doctors at the Sayaboury district hospital delivered a set of triplets. The infants were delivered by C-section at just 31 weeks gestation and each weighed a mere three pounds or less (1kg to 1.4kg).

Such pregnancies pose a significant health risk to mother and babies. Realizing that these infants would require specialized care, the district hospital quickly transferred the infants, the Khamvanh triplets, to LFHC where they were admitted into the Neonatal Unit.

The LFHC team immediately assessed the triplets and initiated the appropriate care. During their nearly 6-week admission, all three babies required oxygen, IV fluids, phototherapy and nasogastric tubes for feeding. It was also important to closely monitor each of them to ensure they were getting stronger and healthier.

The nutrition team played an outstanding role in this case as babies’ mother required a lot of breastfeeding counseling and support. As a result of the hard work and all the efforts of the neonatal team, all three slowly gained weight and were discharged weighing more than four pounds (2kg) each. Mom and dad were excited to bring home their three healthy baby girls!

LFHC Helps Boy Recover After Motorcycle Crash

   Six-year-old Joy Thapphalao was riding on a motorcycle with his family one day in April when they were involved in a traffic accident. Joy survived, but felt a great deal of pain in his right hip.

He was taken to a nearby hospital, but two weeks had passed before he was brought to LFHC. Our doctors determined that Joy has sustained a dislocation of the right hip. Surgical pins were inserted to allow his hip to heal properly and he was placed in traction.

Joy was hospitalized in traction for more than a month. But the care he received at LFHC made a huge difference in his recovery. He is walking again without pain thanks to our doctors, nurses, child life therapist and physiotherapist.

Read more here.

LFHC Doctors Gain Pediatric Training

   Three LFHC doctors report that they are gaining valuable insights and experience as participants in the Pediatric Residency Program in Vientiane, a national three-year training residency.

Dr. Vilaivone Senkeo is in her second year of the program, while Dr. Phoumy Manivong and Dr. Bounloth Sordaluck are in their first year. Thanks to the support of the Ptarmigan Charitable Foundation, LFHC has been able to encourage and help these doctors in pursuing their pediatric training.

The Pediatric Residency Program is a highly competitive national selection process. We are very proud of the performance of these doctors and look forward to seeing them continue their professional growth.

Read more about their experiences here.

Save the Date!

   We are excited to announce plans for Friends Without A Border’s First Virtual Run for the Children, which will be held during the weekend of October 16-18. So please mark your calendars!

For the past several years, the Luang Prabang Half Marathon has been an important fundraiser for our hospital. Thousands of runners have participated over the years. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of this year’s half marathon, as well as all of our live fundraising events.

As a result, we decided to launch a virtual half marathon. It’s virtual in that participants won’t hear a starter pistol and race along a crowded course. Instead, participants will run, walk or bicycle in their own neighborhoods, local parks and trails. You can race solo or as a team of family and friends.

Details about how to register and more information about the race will be forthcoming. All proceeds will benefit Lao Friends Hospital for Children.

2019 Annual Report Available

   In 2019, we provided a record number of treatments, renewed our commitment to pediatric clinical training through a new curriculum, traveled a record number of outreach miles to visit children unable to come to the hospital and developed partnerships with other NGOs to pursue public health prevention initiatives.

Read about our amazing year of growth and accomplishment in the 2019 Friends Without A Border Annual Report.

 Click here to view the report.

 

LFHC Helps Boy Recover After Motorcycle Crash

Six-year-old Joy Thapphalao was riding on a motorcycle with his family one day in April when they were involved in a traffic accident. Joy survived, but felt a great deal of pain in his right hip.

His family was very concerned, but didn’t know exactly what to do. They treated him with a local medicine, but after six days of home care, they decided to take Joy to a nearby hospital. The staff there told the family that there wasn’t much that could be done for the boy and sent them home with some over-the-counter pain medication.

Fourteen days after the accident, Joy arrived at LFHC where he was diagnosed with a dislocation of the right hip. Surgical pins were inserted to allow Joy’s hip to heal in the correct position and he was placed in traction.

LFHC used WFPI (World Federation of Pediatric Imagers) to assist in reviewing Joy’s X-rays to ensure that he would have the best possible outcome. Joy spent more than a month in traction at LFHC. During that time, the team of doctors and nurses worked to coordinate his care, while our child life therapist and physiotherapist worked to improve his mobility.

Joy is recovering and returns to LFHC for follow-up visits. He is able to walk with some difficulty but without pain and his father made special crutches to help him get around faster.

Globally, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults between the ages of 5 and 29, according to the World Health Organization. Joy is a survivor.

LFHC Doctors Gain Insights, Experience in Residency Program

Three LFHC doctors report that they are gaining valuable insights and experience as participants in the Pediatric Residency Program in Vientiane, a national three-year training residency.

Dr. Vilaivone Senkeo is in her second year of the program, while Dr. Phoumy Manivong and Dr. Bounloth Sordaluck are in their first year. Thanks to the support of the Ptarmigan Charitable Foundation, LFHC has been able to encourage and help these doctors in pursuing their pediatric training.

Dr. Senkeo has one more year of residency to complete her pediatric training and will then return to LFHC. She said her residency has exposed her to clinical cases, departments and treatments that she had not experienced at LFHC. She also learned more about coordination with different departments for patient diagnosis and treatment, particularly regarding emergency room cases. Dr. Senkeo said she is confident that what she has learned will help her and her colleagues continue improving quality of care at the LFHC.

Dr. Phoumy Manivong (left)

Dr. Manivong started his pediatric residency last year and noted that training with neonatal cases and emergency room cases has been a particularly valuable experience. He said he has been working with challenging emergency cases in which he had had the opportunity to expand his knowledge and skills. Dr. Manivong mentioned that he is gaining confidence and acquiring leadership skills during his residency and looks forward to sharing his experiences with LFHC colleagues, students and patients’ families when he returns to our hospital.

Dr. Sordaluck said she is exploring such new areas as hematology/oncology and learning different processes in the Intensive Care Unit and the emergency room. She said her residency recently focused on treatments for patients with anemia, leukemia and electrolyte imbalance. She also practiced basic and advanced life support, while also practicing in five different

Dr. Vilaivone Senkeo

departments (hematology/oncology, ICU, emergency room, infectious diseases department and general ward). She is convinced that this experience is going to help her and LFHC to improve teamwork, patient treatment and the patient referral process.

The Pediatric Residency Program is a highly competitive national selection process. We are very proud of the performance of these doctors and look forward to seeing them continue their professional growth.

June Newsletter

Laos Coronavirus Update 

   All 19 patients reported with coronavirus in Laos have been discharged from hospitals and no new cases have been detected for more than two months. Schools in the country have resumed activities and transportation between provinces is now allowed; however, borders remained closed.

At Lao Friends Hospital for Children, we saw an increase in the number of patients from April, when the country was in full lockdown, to May, when the government began to ease restrictions. The Outpatient Department saw 626 patients in April. The caseload increased to 1,039 patients in May. The Emergency Room staff also saw a significant increase from 376 patients in April to 603 patients in May.

LFHC: The Importance of World Blood Day

   World Blood Donor Day is observed on June 14 every year to raise awareness about the global need for safe blood and to thank blood donors. Our hospital uses donated blood for surgeries and to treat children with anemia and thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder.

Donated blood is critically important to our Thalassemia Clinic, which currently cares for 325 patients. One such patient is 12-year old Vathtana who first came to LFHC in 2018 when his parents noticed that he always seemed pale and tired. Our medical staff correctly diagnosed that the boy has thalassemia and has since provided the treatment that has changed his life.

Read more here.

Gardening for Healthy Patients and Families

   The hospital’s vegetable garden project started six months ago with the goal of providing food assistance to select patients and their families.

Some families travel long distances to bring their sick or injured children to LFHC. If their children require extended hospitalization, these families remain at the hospital. Many simply cannot afford to cover food costs. Our Outreach Team assesses families to determine whether they need food assistance.

Prior to the vegetable garden project, the hospital bought vegetables at the local market. However, the hospital’s garden has grown more than 880 pounds (400 kg) of vegetables since February — produce that has provided meals for many patients, families and caretakers. Rows of morning glory, onions, corn, eggplant, chilies, cabbage, green beans and lettuce now grow in our garden.

 Read more here.

Neonatal Unit Treats Tiniest Patients Ever

   During the past few months, the LFHC team has faced an extraordinary challenge: caring for two of the smallest infants ever admitted to the Neonatal Unit.

The first, Airnoy Larnoy arrived at LFHC on Feb. 12 after spending three days at a district hospital. She weighed a mere 28 ounces (800 grams) at birth and was much smaller than our average neonatal patient. Not to be outdone, a second tiny infant, Airnoy Vahn (pictured at right), arrived on March 7, weighing only 21 ounces (600 grams).

Both infants not only survived, but grew healthy thanks to the comprehensive, intensive care that is the hallmark of our hospital.

Airnoy Larnoy was discharged weighing more than four pounds (just over 2 kg). It was an exciting day for the staff, which deftly handled a very challenging case and saved the life of another tiny patient.

By the end of May, Airnoy Vahn was discharged, weighing 3.3 pounds (1.95 kg), and secured his place as the smallest patient to be successfully discharged from the Neonatal Unit to date.

Read more here.

Celebrating Outreach Team on World Children’s Day

   Acknowledging the work of the hospital’s Outreach Team is a fitting way to observe World Children’s Day.

Recently, the team has been providing follow-up a care to a child* with a serious chronic disease who lives in a nearby village. The team recognized that the child’s family needed special guidance in what to do to improve their child’s health. The team carefully planned a day of activities for them with the help of LFHC’s physiotherapist and child life therapist.

The team arrived at the village soon after World Children’s Day, but the team decided a belated celebration was in order and initiated some games and activities with their patient’s friends in the village. The children and their families couldn’t stop smiling that day!

We are very proud of the Outreach Team and the work they do to deliver compassionate care to children in villages near and far.

*The child’s identity is not being disclosed to protect the patient’s privacy.

Staff Members Apply Green Thumbs on Arbor Day

   In Laos, Arbor Day is celebrated on June 1 and the LFHC staff seized the opportunity to participate in a team activity: planting trees and flowers around the hospital.

It is always exciting for patients and staff to see how trees planted on previous Arbor Days are growing and making the hospital setting a more beautiful environment.


   Lao Friends Hospital for Children provides free, compassionate medical care to children in northern Laos. No child is ever turned away!

   Our staff members come from diverse ethnic backgrounds. The hospital thus enjoys the advantages of having someone on hand who can communicate in the different languages of the families who bring their children to LFHC.

   More than half of the children we treat are Lao. Nearly 23% are Hmong, 19% Khmu and a little more than 1% are children of other Lao ethnic groups.

Neonatal Unit Treats Tiniest Patients Ever

During the past few months, the LFHC team has faced an extraordinary challenge: caring for two of the smallest infants ever admitted to the Neonatal Unit.

The first, Airnoy Larnoy arrived at LFHC on Feb. 12 after spending three days at a district hospital. She weighed a mere 28 ounces (800 grams) at birth and was much smaller than our average neonatal patient.

Our nurses and doctors were concerned about the infant’s ability to survive, but they were not discouraged. Over the next several weeks, they worked diligently to care for her. They administered IV antibiotics, IV fluids, multiple medications, phototherapy, a nasogastric tube to help her feed and a blood transfusion. The clinical staff became optimistic as she responded to the intensive care and started to grow.

Airnoy Larnoy was discharged weighing more than four pounds (just over 2 kg). It was an exciting day for the staff, which deftly handled a very challenging case and saved the life of another tiny patient.

Airnoy Vahn and mother

Not to be outdone, a second tiny infant, Airnoy Vahn, arrived on March 7, weighing only 21 ounces (600 grams). Born at home, he and his parents travelled for two hours to reach LFHC. The team at LFHC immediately applied life-support measures. Much like Airnoy Larnoy, Airnoy Vahn required a lot of specialized support, but showed steady progress over the course of his stay, which lasted nearly 12 weeks. By the end of May, he was discharged, weighing 3.3 pounds (1.95 kg), and secured his place as the smallest Neonatal Unit patient to be successfully discharged from the Neonatal Unit to date, as well as a huge victory for LFHC.

During their long stays, the families got to know and support each other. Both mothers lovingly cared for their infants and worked with the doctors and nurses to tend to the needs of these tiny patients.

These two success stories are a testament to the achievements of the Neonatal Unit and enhance the reputation that the hospital has earned in the surrounding communities.

The first 28 days of life represents the most vulnerable time for a child’s survival and accounts for approximately 46% of all deaths of children under the age of five, according to the World Health Organization. This is especially true for infants born prematurely, which is the leading cause of death in this age group.

The LFHC Neonatal Unit opened in 2016 with the goal of providing specialized care to our smallest patients. Given the increasing number of babies who needed specialized care, this unit was expanded in 2018. There are now nurses dedicated to the Neonatal Unit and assuming leadership roles. Nurses working in the unit have completed additional training courses and received mentorship from expat volunteers with expertise in this field to ensure that they have the skills necessary to care for premature patients. Several neonatal physicians have also volunteered in past years to help develop the unit.

Gardening for Healthy Patients and Families

The hospital’s vegetable garden project started six months ago with the goal of providing food assistance to select patients and their families.

Some families travel long distances to bring their sick or injured children to LFHC. If their children require extended hospitalization, these families remain at the hospital, but simply cannot afford to cover food costs. Our Outreach Team assesses families to determine whether they need food assistance. Administrative Assistant Phonesavanh Phongsavath (Norm) and the nutrition team then coordinate the daily food supply for families who qualify.

Prior to the vegetable garden project, the hospital bought vegetables at the local market. However, the hospital’s garden has grown more than 880 pounds (400 kg) of vegetables since February – produce that has provided meals for many patients, families and caretakers. Rows of morning glory, onions, corn, eggplant, chilis, cabbage, green beans and lettuce now grow in our garden.

Semany Phongsavath (Aye)

Any surplus produced is offered to families to bring home when their child is discharged. Hospital nutritionist Bounmark Phoumesy (Toun) noted that the project not only helps families and patients during a hospital stay, but also teaches families about including various vegetables in their meals at home.

The LFHC garden would not be as beautiful and productive without the support of gardener Semany Phongsavath (Aye), who is in charge of preparing the soil, watering and taking care of the vegetables. Many thanks to Mr. Aye.

LFHC: The Importance of World Blood Day

World Blood Donor Day is observed on 14 June every year to raise awareness about the global need for safe blood and to thank blood donors. Our hospital uses donated blood for surgeries and to treat children with anemia and thalassemia.

There is always a need for blood donations in Luang Prabang. The LFHC laboratory and external relations team work closely with the Luang Prabang Blood Center throughout the year to assess the blood supply and to encourage the local community and visitors to become blood donors.

Donated blood is critically important to our Thalassemia Clinic, which currently cares for 325 patients. Patients come to the clinic on Wednesdays and Thursdays for their appointments and are examined by a doctor who orders laboratory tests and, if needed, a blood transfusion. Thalassemia is an inherited blood condition that causes abnormal hemoglobin and if these patients do not get blood transfusions, they can have difficulty doing normal activities and suffer serious health consequences.

Thalassemia is quite prevalent in northern Laos. A proper diagnosis and management of the disorder enables patients to feel stronger and perform normal activities. An example of this is the case of 12-year old Vathtana who first came to LFHC in 2018 when his parents noticed that he always seemed pale and tired. He had required occasional blood transfusions prior to that time, but his parents never understood why or received a diagnosis. The doctors at LFHC took a thorough history, performed a physical exam and obtained blood tests. They suspected thalassemia and requested additional testing. Then test results finally came back, a diagnosis of beta thalassemia was confirmed.

Vathtana has since returned to our Thalassemia Clinic every 3 weeks to receive blood transfusions and medications. Thanks to these transfusions and appropriate care, he has been able to feel better.

May Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

National Lockdown Lifted: LFHC Update 

   The Lao national lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was lifted in early May which allowed all LFHC staff members to return to work. The caseload began to increase as families were once again able to leave their homes and bring their children to LFHC.

The high level of compassionate medical care was never compromised during the lockdown. Lao doctors and nurses demonstrated outstanding leadership during the absence of the ex-pat volunteers who typically supervise and mentor them. The hospital’s medical director and medical education director provided guidance and support to the Lao staff and worked rotations to ensure that one of them would be on call throughout the day and night.

The Lao nurse shift leaders assumed the duties of confirming dosages of medicine administered to patients — a responsibility formerly handled by volunteer nurses.

The hospital’s Development Clinic and Thalassemia Clinic were again conducting weekly sessions and classrooms were reopened for medical instruction and English language training.

Read more here.

Bone Marrow Procedure Helps Save Baby’s Life

   A 15-month-old girl recently brought to LFHC exhibited symptoms that appeared to indicate that she was suffering from sepsis, a bacterial infection that overwhelms the body and can be fatal. However, the child failed to improve after being treated with antibiotics.

Her condition had troubled our doctors from the outset. Her blood cell counts were low, her liver and spleen were enlarged and she had developed a rash that rapidly spread over her face and body. Doctors quickly doubted that sepsis was the problem.

A blood triglyceride test prompted doctors to consider that the baby had a life-threatening blood disease called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). To confirm the diagnosis a bone marrow sample was needed.

Fortunately, Dr. Dorkeo Boupao had recently completed her pediatric residency in Vientiane, where she learned to perform blood marrow aspirations. She performed the aspiration and our laboratory staff prepared the bone marrow slides. The diagnosis was confirmed.

The child was taken to Children’s Hospital, Vientiane, which is the only facility offering HLH treatment. The diagnosis by our LFHC team expedited treatment for this little patient who continues to recover.

Read the complete story here.

Hospital Salutes Nursing Staff During Lockdown

   LFHC celebrated the International Nurses Day on May 12 and acknowledged the essential work of the entire nursing team at the hospital. Our nurses provide support and compassionate care to our patients and prove their commitment to their patients by continuing their medical training — even in challenging times.

The national lockdown in response to the pandemic challenged LFHC to find educational alternatives to classroom instruction. Khamxai Xongyikhangsuthor, Lao nurse educator at LFHC, coordinated and delivered the nursing curricula during the lockdown and provided orientation to the new members of this team.

During this month, Khamxai assisted in delivering 72 hours of clinical bedside education to nurses working on their shifts. Education focused on nursing assessments and interventions based on patient diagnosis, improved communication among team members, PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) resuscitation and blood gas interpretation.

Outreach Team Takes Family on Life-Saving Trip

   During Lao’s national COVID-19 lockdown, transportation and movement in the country was restricted among and inside the provinces. As a measure to protect the communities we serve and our staff, the LFHC Outreach Team limited their visits to villages and to patients’ homes during April and a few days in May. Nonetheless, the team continued to provide much needed assistance to critical cases inside and outside the hospital.

In one particular case, our Outreach Team performed an extraordinary life-saving task: transporting a child to Vientiane for a critically needed surgery.

The child, 11-month-old Chik Chot, was referred by our doctors to Vientiane in March because he needed a nephrectomy, the removal of a kidney. He returned to LFHC in early April, but developed post-operative complications.

Under normal circumstances, patients travel by bus to Vientiane. However, travel restrictions had already begun, so the Outreach Team decided to use an LFHC vehicle to safely take Chik Chot and his parents to Vientiane. Chik Chot was treated by a surgeon there and brought back to Luang Prabang by the Outreach Team. He was recently discharged and is recovering nicely.

WHO Trains Staff in Coronavirus Response

   Although Lao PDR has reported only 19 confirmed cases of the coronavirus since announcing its first case on March 24, representatives of the World Health Organization recently travelled in the country to ensure that healthcare workers are prepared for a possible new outbreak.

Three LFHC nurses and two doctors participated in the training and they have been disseminating the information to the rest of the staff. The training focused on triaging, treatment, isolation ward management and staff wellbeing.

For two days, the Luang Prabang Provincial Health Department and WHO representatives conducted the special training for healthcare providers from the provincial and district hospitals, as well as for community health workers. The Lao Ministry of Health collaborated with WHO in the training sessions.

 

LFHC Clinical Team Performs Bone Marrow Procedure

When 15-month-old Noy* arrived at LFHC, doctors thought she was another case of sepsis, a bacterial infection that overwhelms the body. Sepsis is a potentially dangerous condition, killing an estimated 2.9 million children under five years of age globally in 2017 alone1.

Our doctors are able to recognize and treat sepsis promptly, relying on basic blood tests in the absence of more expensive microbiology tests which doctors in well-resourced settings use to identify bacteria. Most sepsis patients start to recover within a couple of days.

However Noy did not get better. The doctors changed her antibiotics and looked for more unusual infections, all to no avail. And her case had some unusual features that had troubled doctors from the outset. Her blood cell counts were low, her liver and spleen were enlarged, and a few days into the admission she developed a rash which rapidly spread over her face and body. A blood triglyceride test raised doctors’ suspicions that perhaps she didn’t have an infection at all, but a life-threatening hematological disease called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).

To confirm the diagnosis, a sample of her bone marrow was needed. In the past, this had been a procedure referred to Children’s Hospital, Vientiane, which is the only facility offering chemotherapy (the treatment for HLH) in Laos. However, on the verge of a national lockdown and fear of COVID-19, travel to Vientiane was already extremely difficult.

Laboratory Department Head Anousine Phonedala, right, and his team prepared bone marrow slides.

Dr. Dorkeo Boupao had returned to LFHC recently having completed her pediatric residency in Vientiane, where she learned to perform bone marrow aspirations. After discussions with the parents, who are always an integral part of the patient care team at LFHC, the team decided to do the bone marrow aspiration here at LFHC.

This case is truly a story of Lao leadership and teamwork. Dr. Dorkeo and Laboratory Leader Anousine Phonedala worked together to plan and prepare for the procedure. Dr. Dorkeo obtained the samples and Anousine and his team prepared the slides. Our doctors examined the slides and found the typical appearance of HLH.

The nurses assisted with the sedation for the procedure, and helped support and advocate for the parents throughout the child’s nine-day hospitalization. The parents were amazingly patient and brave as they maintained a vigil by her bedside, helping to care for her as they watched their usually beautiful child become almost unrecognizable as the rash crept over her face and body.

With the diagnosis confirmed, it was much easier for the parents to commit to spending the time and money needed for treatment in Vientiane. The Children’s Hospital, Vientiane used LFHC’s slides so that she was able to start treatment without delay after arriving in Vientiane. She still has a long road ahead of her, but days after starting chemotherapy, she was rash- and fever-free.

Although LFHC cannot yet treat such cases, being able to perform the diagnostic procedure at LFHC makes a huge difference for patients and their families. Sending patients to Vientiane for this procedure incurs great cost for the family and there’s no guarantee that the subsequent treatment will cure the patient. In this case, the family was given accurate information about prognosis and treatment cost to aid their decision-making and give them peace of mind that the expensive treatment was justified. The journey is long and arduous, especially with a sick child, and in the future, we hope that we can save some children and their parents from going through this unnecessarily.

We are extremely proud of our Lao team, who didn’t stop thinking and caring about their patient, and displayed an ability to learn, innovate and develop their service, even in the midst of a historic pandemic and its attendant restrictions. They were excited to learn about this rare condition and to see that the quality of care that they provide to their patients continues to improve. In the future, we hope to have more LFHC doctors trained in the procedure and in reading the slides so that we can expand the repertoire of diseases that we can diagnose locally.

* The name of the patient has been changed to protect confidentiality.

  1. Global, regional, and national sepsis incidence and mortality, 1990–2017: analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study. Rudd K.E. et al. Lancet 2020; 395: 200-11