Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hospital Visit

While we were working on our project (the kindergarten schools) in Khong District, we went on a tour of the local hospital in Muong Khong (following a request from two goodhearted nurses we met from Switzerland--Marie Claire and Evelyn). We met with the chief of office public health, Dr. Soubanh Kangnavong and he showed us around and explained the challenges the hospital is facing. While we are unable to take on this project, we are hoping that other organizations, such as international hospitals, will consider getting involved. Even if you can only mail some old surgical instruments, that would make a big difference in a place like this.

Overview of Muong Khong Hospital

The hospital serves a community of approximately 50,000. It has 7 doctors and 4 nurses, who were educated in Vientiane, Laos and also in Vietnam and Bangkok. The hospital does approximately 4-5 operations per month, which have an infection rate of 10% (which he says is low for the area). They act as a pharmacy for the area, ordering in antibiotics and other drugs from Vientiane. Patients must pay for the cost of all drugs or medical items used, but the hospital and doctors provide their time for free (paid by the government).

The most common problems for adults are appendicitis, cesarean sections and gall bladder infections. However they also see TB and malaria patients, and a large number of people with diabetes and parasites.

The most common problems for children are lung infections, stomach problems (diarrhea) and parasites.

The equipment at the hospital is extremely old and in very bad condition. They have very little resources. Lives in the area could be saved if you or someone you know could send some second-hand medical equipment.

The following items are desperately needed:

  1. Sterilizer (their sterilizer is broken and they are currently using steam a firewood stove).
  2. Blood separator (theirs is 40 years old and broken. Right now they have no separator).
  3. X-ray machine is broken, so they are unable to diagnose broken bones.
  4. Surgery instruments (they are in dire need of instruments and would be happy to receive old second-hand instruments).
  5. UV lights to sterilize
  6. Sugar level reader for diabetics
  7. Ultrasound equipment
  8. Needle boxes (holders specially for needles)
  9. Anything else you can think they have almost nothing at this hospital.

If you can help in any way it will be of great benefit to this poor community, and will save lives. If you are able, you are welcome to visit the hospital yourself. Unfortunately, we are not able to oversee this project ourselves due to extremely limited resources, but if you would like to get involved you can contact the hospital directly. We will be happy to help with language barriers if we can and whatever else we are able to help with--for example, if the equipment is complex and needs to be properly explained, we can have the documents translated in Lao. Just drop us a line.

Dr. Soubanh Kangnavong,
Chief of Office Public Health
Khong District, Champasack Province
(Phone: 020 2207062)

Top to bottom: broken sterlizer, current needle holders, broken 40 year old blood separator.

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