Two of our LFHC staff, Dr. Dorkmai and Dr. Vilayvone, together with the Medical Education Director, Dr. Chris Sanderson, traveled together to attend the Developing EM (Emergency Medicine) conference held this year in Colombo, Sri Lanka. This is a very special conference that acknowledges the difficulty that doctors and nurses in low-resource countries encounter in attending international conferences, where they can meet and share ideas and assists them by funding their flights, accommodation and conference fees. This year, 14 regional delegates received funding – including our doctors from LFHC and Dr. Chheng from LFHC’s sister hospital, Angkor Hospital for Children. The conference is a joint US and Australian initiative that has been growing each year and is helping to develop greater awareness of Emergency Medicine in developing countries.
For Dr. Dorkmai and Dr. Vilayvone, this was their first trip outside Laos and an introduction to international travel! We arrived at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo at night time, so imagine their surprise in the morning to see the ocean for the first time! Another surprise was a breakfast reunion with Dr. Setthy Ung – a long-time Friends’ supporter and volunteer at both AHC and LFHC. The team enjoyed sampling Sri Lankan curries and other culinary delights …. but they definitely preferred the noodle soup and rice dishes of Lao!
The conference was an amazing experience for our young doctors. Lectures sessions covered aspects of emergency pediatrics, trauma and capacity building. Dr Chheng spoke about the development of emergency services at AHC and was applauded for his clear presentation and leadership in this area. At the pediatric session, our LFHC team spoke about the emergency management of Beriberi and its impact on infant mortality and morbidity in northern Lao. We had many people talk with us following our talk and all at LFHC should be proud of our contribution!
Attending conferences like this is one of the ways we are encouraging critical thinking and developing leaders amongst our LFHC doctors – hopefully it will be the first of many opportunities.