Thalassemia Clinic: Training for District Hospital Staff

Late last month, Lao staff members at LFHC trained a doctor and nurse from Nambak District Hospital in the care and treatment of thalassemia patients.

The goal of the training is to give thalassemia patients a place to receive treatment closer to their homes. Some families travel long distances every month to bring their children to LFHC, which has the only pediatric thalassemia clinic in northern Laos. These families are spending a large proportion of their income on transportation. Nambak is about 75 miles north of Luang Prabang.

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that causes anemia and can be fatal. Many patients need monthly blood transfusions. Despite the high prevalence of thalassemia in Laos, there are only two pediatric thalassemia clinics in the country – at LFHC and in the capital city of Vientiane.

In training the Nambak staff, LFHC administrators envision them spreading this clinical knowledge to other hospitals and health care professionals across Laos.

The first doctor and nurse from Nambak arrived on Jan. 29  training. They had a half day of theory, followed by two days of practical training and observation in the LFHC Thalassemia Clinic.

Two more Nambak doctors and nurses will be trained over the next few months and their hospital will soon start to receive patients. The patients will be treated at Nambak for two months and then return to LFHC for the third month. LFHC administrators hope this will be the start of a great collaboration between LFHC and Nambak District Hospital.