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.