The last 12 months have been full of activity at Lao Friends Hospital for Children. Read below to learn about some of the most important achievements and developments your donations have made possible at LFHC in the last year.
1. INPATIENT NUMBERS INCREASE BY 250% IN 12 MONTHS
The increase in patient numbers has been driven by “word of mouth”, community demand and the expansion of services such as the neonatal unit and the Operating Theater. Outpatient attendances are also up by around 33% over this time. This substantial increase in activity demonstrates local confidence and acceptance of our hospital. Maintaining quality of service during this increase has been achieved by opening new beds, employing new Lao staff to manage these beds (4 more doctors and 4 more nurses) and increasing efficiency in many areas.
2. OPERATING THEATER OPENED AND NOW PERFORMING 40-60 OPERATIONS PER MONTH
An international standard Operating Theater has been fully operational within LFHC since July 2016. It is run by a Lao Theater Manager and staffed with Lao nurse anesthetists and theater staff. There has been a considerable amount of training invested in these staff and they are currently supported by an Australian volunteer theater manager and International Anesthetist. Surgery is performed by Lao surgeons from the Luang Prabang Provincial Hospital with preoperative and postoperative care provided by LFHC staff. A true “shared care” model that contributes greatly to the care of children with complex surgical problems.
3. NEONATAL STAFF TRAINED AND NEONATAL UNIT OPENED WITH 8 BEDS
An 8-bed neonatal unit was opened in October 2016. As the staff of LFHC had very little experience with dealing with neonates, months of training occurred before this unit could be opened. Neonatal nurses from Thailand conducted extensive training prior to its opening. Neonatal staff now attend high risk deliveries within the Provincial Hospital and bring neonates directly to this unit.
The continuing education of the neonatal nurses is provided by an experienced long term volunteer neonatal nurse.
4. STAFF LEADERSHIP TRAINING PROGRAM COMMENCED
In recognition of the fact that to develop and mature a hospital not only requires excellent clinicians but also leaders and future executives, a staff leadership training program has been launched. Potential leaders in all areas of the hospital were identified, interviewed, given senior roles and commenced on the training program. This program involves both internal and external facilitators and prolonged mentorship.
The first session of a special training program delivered by Global Health Services Network was possible thanks to the donations of many volunteers and supporters through our ongoing crowdfunding campaign.
5. INTEGRATED TRAINING OF LAO PEDIATRICIANS
There are currently only 120 pediatricians in Laos. These are trained in Vientiane by the Lao Pediatric Society through the Lao Pediatric Residency Program. Last year one of our LFHC doctors, Dr. Dorkeo, was accepted into this program. She will train there for three years before returning to LFHC. This year another of our doctors will join her.
In addition, two pediatric trainees from the Lao Pediatric Residency Program will rotate to LFHC for 2 months to train with us. This exchange of trainees between LFHC and Vientiane will promote strong ties and establish LFHC as a center of pediatric training for the country. LFHC also sponsored two pediatric trainees to attend the Lao Pediatric Society meeting in Vientiane this year.
6. THALASSEMIA CLINIC OPENS
Thalassemia is a major problem in Northern Lao that until now has not had a focus within the health care system. Children with Thalassemia would become quite anemic, be inadequately transfused and consequently suffer debilitating effect of their disease. In conjunction with a hematologist in Vientiane we have opened a clinic especially for these children. This clinic offers regular care, specialized blood testing, an optimized transfusion regime, a chelation (iron removal) program, and, most importantly, support and education for the family of our patients.
7. DEVELOPMENTAL ASSESSMENT AREA FULLY EQUIPPED WITH TRAINED STAFF
In the next few months a developmental clinic will open for children with developmental problems. In preparation for this a developmental assessment area has been designed and equipped. All medical, nursing and physiotherapy staff have undergone specific training both in normal childhood development and screening tests for abnormal development. This clinic will offer multidisciplinary assessment and intervention for children with developmental problems with continuity of care and family support.
8. IMPROVED RADIOLOGY
Together with our colleagues at RAD-AID the medical imaging capabilities of LFHC have improved enormously over 12 months. The number of imaging procedures has more than doubled. A number of RAD-AID volunteers have worked closely with our staff to improve their abilities both in plain film imaging and ultrasonography. A new Sonosite with Doppler capability has taken this to a new level.
The Provincial Hospital is currently installing a CT scanner which will be of enormous benefit to our patients. We are currently negotiating how we can assist with the operation of this unit and exploring how we can create an integrated Medical Imaging Department across the two hospitals that utilizes the expertise and equipment of both departments to the fullest extent.
9. CHILD LIFE INTRODUCED AS A CONCEPT TO IMPROVE A CHILD’S HOSPITAL EXPERIENCE
Employing and training a full time child life therapist has added a new dimension to LFHC’s aspiration to provide compassionate care at all times. Child life involvement with children on the wards, especially those who are undergoing surgical procedures, has seen a steady improvement in pain management and the reduction of anxiety in children. Child life as a discipline is not known in Lao so we have taken primary school teachers and trained them “on the job” with the help of international volunteers.
10. BUILDING A COHESIVE AND VIBRANT TEAM
LFHC is a young hospital that has experienced enormous growth in a very short period. Many people from Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, and around the world have contributed to its growth and successes. The hospital is now entering a phase of consolidation, putting in place solid infrastructure, robust processes and well trained visionary people who will lead the hospital forward over the next 10 years. Achieving our aims of “treatment, education and prevention” requires “teamwork, leadership and dedication.”
These achievements would not be possible without you. Thank you for trusting Friends Without A Border and joining us in our mission to build a healthier future for Lao children!