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5th Anniversary Edition

LFHC Celebrates 5th Anniversary

   Representatives of the Lao PDR government joined Friends Without A Border board members and supporters on Jan. 23 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the opening of Lao Friends Hospital for Children.

Read more here.

Click here to view a video that was screened at the celebration.

Hospital Milestone Achieved!

   As 2019 came to an end, Lao Friends Hospital for Children reached a milestone: The hospital has now provided more than 100,000 medical treatments to children in northern Laos since opening its doors in 2015.

Nearly one-third of all those treatments happened in 2019, making it the busiest year in the history of the hospital.

(Please note that a child might receive several treatments over a year or more.)

LFHC doctors and nurses handled 32,973 medical cases last year, according to year-end data. That’s a 24% increase from 2018.

The largest increase in caseload occurred in the Emergency Room, where doctors and nurses handled 11,801 medical emergencies, an increase of nearly 77% from 2018.

Doctors Pediatric Training Program Underway

   From its inception, LFHC has had a tradition of providing continuous education for its medical staff, both in classrooms and during every clinical shift, ably assisted by numerous foreign doctors.

This approach has now been consolidated into a structured curriculum-based training program that is designed to give all of our doctors a good foundational knowledge in pediatrics, enabling them to practice evidence-based, child-centered, pediatric care safely, ethically and competently. It also encourages them to continue their professional development through self-directed learning.

The first stage of this training, a one-year LFHC Child Health Foundation course, is underway and will be followed by a three-year Certificate of Pediatrics program. These are internal courses; LFHC will continue to utilize the country’s national pediatric residency program for the hospital’s highest performing doctors.

This new training program is being financed by a generous grant from Moving Child, a foundation based in Munich, Germany.

Read more here.

Doctors Save Toddler Injured in Motorbike Crash

   An unconscious toddler suffering seizures was rushed to the LFHC Emergency Room on Dec. 10. The ER staff didn’t know the name or age of the child, but instantly noted his cuts, bruises and fractured arm. They quickly stabilized him, assessed his injuries and obtained a CT scan.

The staff then learned that the boy’s family had been in a motorbike accident. His mother was taken to the nearby Provincial Hospital. His older brother didn’t survive the accident.

After three weeks or intensive treatment and therapy, the child was able to return home with his mother, who also recovered from her injuries.

Read more here.

APLS Scholarship Awarded to Staff Doctor

   Dr. Vee Thongkham, a senior LFHC doctor, has been awarded a scholarship to attend an Advanced Pediatric Life Support (APLS) Australia Provider and Instructor course in Melbourne in May. This is a competitively earned scholarship which will also bring to LFHC some resources, including new training mannequins. The hospital’s mannequins are quite old and many of them cannot be manually ventilated (a core skill).

The scholarship and equipment are valued at AUD $10,000. Dr. Vee (pictured at far left in the photo) is a faculty member of LFHC’s new pediatric training program for physicians.

Hospital Units Add a Bit of Whimsy

   Graphic artists from Modlao, a Luang Prabang-based design company, have applied an assortment of colorful designs to the hallways and interior of the Neonatal Unit and Thalassemia Clinic. The project creates an upbeat, child-friendly atmosphere for patients and their families.

Many thanks to Marilyn Mears and the CW Asia Foundation for generously financing the project.

Seeds of Ingenuity: LFHC’s Vegetable Garden

   When families travel long distances to bring their children to LFHC, they often remain at the hospital if their children require an extended hospital stay. The hospital provides meals for these families while their children are treated and recovering.

To supplement the diets of these families, while keeping food costs down, the hospital has started its own vegetable garden. Initiated by LFHC Director of Administration Florent Planche, the garden is being planted on a plot adjacent to the hospital’s parking area.

Pumpkins, cabbage, onion, coriander, salad and green beans are being planted.

The LFHC nutrition team will also be able to work with some of these crops for the preparation of special food for patients.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

The hospital is seeking experienced doctors and nurses to serve as volunteers in February and March. Information can be found here.

Doctors Save Life of Child in Motorbike Crash

An unconscious toddler suffering seizures was rushed to the LFHC Emergency Room on Dec. 10. The ER staff didn’t know the name or age of the child, but instantly noted his cuts, bruises and fractured arm. They quickly stabilized him, assessed his injuries and obtained a CT scan.

The staff then learned that the boy’s family had been in a motorbike accident. His mother was taken to the nearby Provincial Hospital. His older brother didn’t survive the accident.

The CT scan revealed that the boy, Tolex Vannadeth, had sustained a head injury that produced bleeding and pressure on his brain. Doctors administered several medications to reduce the pressure, control seizures, prevent infection and manage pain. His condition remained critical for the next few days.

Tolex gradually responded to treatment and despite his condition, he let everyone know that he welcomed the company of the staff and his siblings who later came to visit. He found comfort in holding the hand of a staff member and enjoyed hearing his siblings sing to him.

Tolex slowly improved and began working with the hospital’s physiotherapist. His mother also improved and three weeks after their accident, both were able to go home.

Tolex continues to receive therapy and the staff is excited to see his ongoing recovery.

LFHC Celebrates 5th Anniversary

Representatives of the Lao PDR government joined Friends Without A Border board members and supporters on Jan. 23 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the opening of Lao Friends Hospital for Children.

Mark Gorman, the hospital’s Executive Director, welcomed guests to the event and FWAB Founder Kenro Izu introduced a video produced for the celebration by Adri Berger (which can be viewed here).

FWAB Executive Director Nicole Pagourgis thanked the local community and the organization’s many donors for their support during the past five years.

The event, which featured traditional Lao and Hmong dance groups, was attended by representatives of the Lao Ministry of Health and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Officials from the Luang Prabang Provincial Health Department and Provincial Hospital also attended.

Click here to view a video that was screened at the celebration.

Pediatric Training Program Underway

From its inception, LFHC has had a tradition of providing continuous education for its medical staff, both in classrooms and during every clinical shift, ably assisted by numerous foreign doctors.

This approach has now been consolidated into a structured curriculum-based training program that is designed to give all of our doctors a good foundational knowledge in pediatrics, enabling them to practice evidence-based, child-centered, pediatric care safely, ethically and competently. It also encourages them to continue their professional development through self-directed learning.

The first stage of this training, a one-year LFHC Child Health Foundation course, is underway and will be followed by a three-year Certificate of Pediatrics program. These are internal courses; LFHC will continue to utilize the country’s national pediatric residency program for the hospital’s highest performing doctors.

The curriculum for the new program was developed by Medical Education Director Dr. Rathi Guhadasan, who designed a similar training program 16 years ago for doctors at the Angkor Hospital for Children in Cambodia. The program is being financed by a generous grant from Moving Child, a foundation based in Munich, Germany.

Dr. Guhadasan proposed the LFHC program last year, noting that only three of the 22 doctors on staff had received structured training in pediatric care. A national pediatric training program accepts only 1-2 doctors from LFHC per year.

The long-term aim is to build intellectual sustainability, such that the Lao staff can manage the hospital independently and continue to train future generations of doctors.

The LFHC Pediatric Training Program will offer four years of academic and clinical instruction in pediatrics. Participants must pass the LFHC Child Health Foundation Course to qualify for the next three years of training. The foundation course addresses the medical team’s current learning needs in medicine and English.

The program also features an online learning component. This is added because there is less face-to-face protected teaching time available at LFHC, but it also helps to strengthen self-directed learning skills, processing and application of information and critical thinking. For many of the staff doctors, personal internet is limited and their only personal device may be a smartphone. In order for this component to be effective, the hospital is adding five computer workstations to the library.

Friends Without A Border and hospital administrators are pursuing negotiations with Lao Health Ministry officials to establish a nationally accredited pediatric training residency for physicians at LFHC.

 

 

Milestone Achieved!

As 2019 came to an end, Lao Friends Hospital for Children reached a milestone: The hospital has now provided more than 100,000 medical treatments to children in northern Laos since opening its doors in 2015.

One-third of all those treatments happened in 2019, making it the busiest year the history of the hospital.

LFHC doctors and nurses handled 39,944 medical cases last year, according to year-end data. That’s a 27.6% increase from 2018.

The largest increase in caseload occurred in the Emergency Room, where doctors and nurses handled 11,801 medical emergencies, an increase of nearly 77% from 2018.

December Newsletter

 

Doctors Solve Mystery of Teen’s Persistent Rashes

Fourteen-year-old Khamsouk first visited Lao Friends Hospital for Children when he developed unusual skin rashes. He typically responded to treatment, but the rashes eventually reappeared.

In August, his family once again brought Khamsouk to LFHC, but this time the rash was very different and included painful sores in his mouth which made it difficult for him to eat and drink. Khamsouk was again admitted and this time his hospitalization would span nearly three months.

A battery of tests eventually led doctors to conclude that Khamsouk was afflicted with lupus, an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue.

Thanks to LFHC’s comprehensive care, Khamsouk’s condition was stabilized and he was able to go home with his family. He continues to return for follow-up visits and the staff is closely monitoring his recovery.

Read more here.

HeART to Showcase Designs of Creative Kids

Children hospitalized at LFHC and those who live in the region are creating T-shirt designs this month to show what they love about Laos. It’s all part of a Works of HeART, an event celebrating the fifth anniversary of LFHC and the 20th anniversary of Tiger Trail Travel.

Children from five to 12 years old are invited to the Friends Gallery on Kitsalat Road or the Tiger Trail sales office on Sisvangvong Road to draw their T-shirt designs. A committee will select the best design, which will be used to print T-shirts, and five other designs which will become greeting cards.

Proceeds from the eventual sale of T-shirts and greeting cards will benefit LFHC.

All the designs will be showcased at a Works of HeART exhibit on Jan. 10 at Friends Gallery.

Many Thanks to Team We Run!

Team We Run (TWR), which received the Best Friends of Friends award at the Lao Third Annual Gala Dinner in October, has donated or 63,166,792 kip ($7,116 US) from the money it raised during its fundraising campaign for Lao Friends Hospital for Children.

TWR organized and completed a four-day run in mid-October from the capital city of Vientiane to Luang Prabang to raise funds for the hospital and disaster relief. The team contributed half of the proceeds from its campaign to LFHC and used half to support flood relief efforts in the southern provinces of Laos.

TWR has supported LFHC for many years. The team encourages community health and supports social causes. Many thanks to TWR!

Inpatient Department Gains a Bit of Color and Fantasy

LFHC was acquiring a bit of color and whimsy this month thanks to the efforts of the family of Thansamay Group in Luang Prabang.

Staff members from the company decorated the walls inside the Inpatient Department with colorful decals of playful animals, flowers and hot air balloons. The decorations create a more child-friendly atmosphere for the hospitalized children and their families.

We are very grateful for the support and thoughtfulness of the Thansamay Group!

 

As the Year Ends, Give a Child a New Beginning

   There’s still time to make a donation to our Year End Appeal if you haven’t already done so.

As a subscriber to this newsletter, you know that Lao Friends Hospital for Children has become an incredibly important pediatric teaching hospital. This could not have been accomplished without supporters like you!

Since opening its doors in 2015, the hospital has made dramatic strides in the types and complexity of the medical services it provides. Indeed, children’s lives have been saved and thousands upon thousands of sick and injured children have been healed.

We need your continued support! Please click here to contribute to our Year End Appeal.

 

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

The hospital is seeking experienced doctors and nurses to serve as volunteers in January, February and March. Information can be found here.

Doctors Solve Mystery of Teen’s Persistent Skin Rashes

Fourteen-year-old Khamsouk first visited Lao Friends Hospital for Children after developing unusual skin rashes. He typically responded to treatment, but the rashes eventually reappeared.

In August, his family once again brought Khamsouk to LFHC, but this time the rash was very different and included painful sores in his mouth which made it difficult for him to eat and drink. He was treated with steroids and showed some improvement during a five-day hospital stay. He returned home with his family, but returned less than two weeks later with worsening symptoms.

Khamsouk was again admitted and this time his hospitalization would span nearly three months. During that time, he battled through coma, seizures, lung infections, bleeding, hypertension and weight loss. LFHC doctors worked tirelessly to treat these problems, but struggled to identify their root cause.

Khamsouk’s family eagerly participated in his care.

A battery of tests eventually led doctors to conclude that Khamsouk was afflicted with lupus, an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. There’s no cure for lupus. Treatment focuses on controlling symptoms and minimizing flare-ups.

Khamsouk gradually responded to treatment and received physiotherapy and appropriate nutrition to support his rehabilitation. His family was always at his bedside and was eager to participate in his care. Thanks to LFHC’s comprehensive care, Khamsouk’s condition was stabilized and he was able to go home with his family. He continues to return for follow-up visits and the staff is closely monitoring his recovery.

November Newsletter

Hospital Caseload on Pace for Record Year

   The hospital’s doctors, nurses and other professional staff handled a total of 3,066 medical cases last month – an 11% increase in caseload from October of 2018.

By the end of October, the hospital had recorded a total of 27,979 medical treatments for children in northern Laos this year — a 29% increase from the first 10 months of 2018.

Neonatal Staff Saves Life of 1kg Infant

   A newborn child admitted to our Neonatal Unit typically spends less than a week there. However, some babies cannot survive without a lengthier stay. Airnoy Sounie needed more than two months of the intensive care provided by the unit’s doctors and nurses.

Airnoy Sounie was born prematurely at only 28 weeks gestation. The LFHC team was asked to attend his delivery at the neighboring Provincial Hospital and immediately provided resuscitation and the care necessary to help him survive. He weighed less than 1 kg (about two pounds) at the time of his birth.

In the Neonatal Unit, he was placed on a CPAP machine to help him breathe, given IV fluids and fed by a nasogastric tube.

Thanks to the excellent care provided by the unit’s doctors and nurses, Airnoy Sounie is now home with her grateful parents.

Read more here.

Phonxay Staff Trains at LFHC

   LFHC recently provided training for 10 nurses and medical assistants from health centers in Phonxay District, Luang Prabang.

The two-week training session, titled “Right Diagnosis, Right Treatment,” was commissioned by the Provincial Health Department and the Swiss Red Cross and conducted at LFHC. It focused on common pediatric conditions that these practitioners regularly face in their health centers.

The training is yet another example of LFHC’s role as a teaching hospital.

Click here to read more.

Welcome Back Dr. Buapao!

   Dr. Dorkeo Buapao has returned to LFHC as the first doctor supported by our hospital to complete the Pediatric Residency Program in Vientiane.

She had been working at LFHC for less than two years when she was admitted into the program. She spent three years in residency training at different hospitals in Vientiane to become a pediatrician.

Dr. Dorkeo said she is happy to be back at the LFHC and excited to see the many changes at the hospital since she left. She was particularly impressed by the hospital’s new Neonatal Unit.

LHFC currently has three more doctors attending the Pediatric Residency Program in Vientiane.

Half Marathon Weekend Winner: LFHC

   Runners, golfers and donors celebrated the accomplishments of LFHC last month during a weekend of activities that began with the Lao Friends Third Annual Gala Dinner.

The gala attracted more than 150 supporters and featured a special musical performance by Jojo Miracle and a welcoming dance performance by Puang Champa Cultural House. Attendees included Miss Universe Laos 2019 and Miss International Laos 2019 as well as Laotian Pop Star Tot Lina.

The busy Half Marathon Weekend also featured The Carlsberg Golf Classic, which became a fundraising event for the hospital for the first time this year.

And the weekend culminated with the annual Run for the Children Luang Prabang Half Marathon. Roughly 1,800 runners participated in this year’s event — exceeding last year’s race by about 200 participants.

Proceeds from the three events benefit LFHC. Many thanks to all the sponsors and attendees of the events!

Click here for Half Marathon pictures and video.

Click here for Gala pictures.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

LFHC is also looking for a Neonatal Nurse to volunteer for a period of 6-12 months. Information about the Neonatal Nurse position and how to apply can be found here.

The hospital is also seeking experienced doctors and nurses to serve as volunteers in January, February and March.. Information can be found here.

Phonxay Staff Trains at LFHC

LFHC recently provided training for 10 nurses and medical assistants from health centers in Phonxay District, Luang Prabang.

The two-week training session, titled “Right Diagnosis, Right Treatment,” was commissioned by the Provincial Health Department (PHD) and Swiss Red Cross and conducted at LFHC. It focused on common pediatric conditions that these practitioners regularly face in their health centers, such as respiratory infections, thiamine deficiency, dehydration from diarrhea and seizures.

LFHC Medical Education Director, Dr. Rathi Guhadasan, developed the curriculum and content for the course in conjunction with our senior Lao doctors. The course included 22 hours of classroom-based teaching and 91-95 hours of clinical practice per participant. The classroom-based tutorials included case-based scenarios, giving participants time to process and apply taught theory.

Participants were paired with Lao doctors for the clinical placements, which gave them intensive one-on-one coaching and many opportunities to practice basic but essential skills such as evaluation and diagnosis of acute problems, how to give oxygen and accurate drug and IV fluid prescribing for children.

The participants were divided into two groups and pre- and post-course testing showed an improvement in scores by 24% and 32% for the two groups. The participants’ feedback was very positive, citing the quality of the teaching and the patience and attentiveness of the teachers, who would take extra time to ensure that the students understood. The feedback from the PHD was also positive.

LFHC plans to provide follow-up training at Phonxay District in the future, to ensure that the participants are able to implement what they had learned when they are treating children.

Neonatal Staff Saves Life of 1kg Infant

A newborn infant admitted to our Neonatal Unit typically spends less than a week there. However, some babies cannot survive without a lengthier stay. Airnoy Sounie needed more than two months of the intensive care provided by the unit’s doctors and nurses.

Airnoy Sounie was born prematurely at only 28 weeks gestation. The LFHC team was asked to attend his delivery at the neighboring Provincial Hospital and immediately provided resuscitation and the care necessary to help him survive. He weighed less than 1 kg (about two pounds) at the time of his birth.

In the Neonatal Unit, he was placed on a CPAP machine to help him breathe, given  IV fluids and fed by a nasogastric tube. He was also given many medications to help treat infections, prevent apnea and help close a PDA (patent ductus arteriosus, an extra blood vessel found in newborn babies that could cause blood to flow into the lungs).

After several weeks, Airnoy Sounie gained the ability to breathe without support and learned to breastfeed. His weight nearly doubled and he was about to be sent home with his parents, who were always with him at the hospital.

The family lives in Luang Prabang and expressed their gratitude to the hospital staff for all the care and support of their baby.