Ensuring the Health of Lao Children and their Families
The Luang Prabang Provincial Hospital was built in 2003 for a population of 22,000. Luang Prabang now has a population of around 55,000 - and is growing larger every month. The hospital sees about 100 to 150 patients per day.
In terms of medical services to the community, the hospital is in dire need of assistance, and this is one of the areas where we will be concentrating our help in 2012.
Lao-Kids has already replaced some of the very old and worn-out linen, blankets and pillows - with one of the areas designated for these goods being the Emergency Room, where patients were often treated on gurneys covered only in a rubberized sheet. We have also provided blood pressure monitors and pulse oximeters for the surgical wards.
The orthopedic surgeon was using a very old drill purchased at the Chinese market for all of his work, so we replaced it with 2 new battery-operated (rechargeable) drills.
Lao-Kids has also put in place a six-monthly service agreement with the air-conditioning company to ensure the efficiency of the air-conditioners at all times. We have also arranged regular maintenance of the generator which is needed as electricity often fails.
We were also intrigued when the hospital asked if we could buy them some bolts of cheap white fabric … until we found out that the poor cannot afford to buy anything to wrap their dead in to take home and cheap white fabric makes perfect shrouds! Thus we have been able to provide just a little bit of dignity to a devastating moment in people’s lives.
In 2012 we will also focus on the needs of the maternal and child health areas. There are only 14 beds in the maternity area, and on average there are 150 births per month, including 20 caesarians. Approximately 10 babies per month are born pre-term with weights of less than 2.5kg. Mothers are often very young and very small due to poor diet, so the risk of birth complications is high.
Again, these areas are in need of almost everything... mattresses, sheets, pillows, blankets, full-length surgical gloves, hospital robes
and shoe covers for doctors assisting with deliveries, antibacterial fluid for hand washing, and low flow oxygen
meters for the humidicribs
of pre-term babies (to name a few of their needs...). They also need
basic items such as caps for new-born babies, small diapers for pre-term
babies, and baby clothes and blankets for the extremely poor mothers to take their babies home.
Major / Capital Items Required
The hospital is in dire need of some major works and items of equipment that Lao-Kids is not in a position to be able to provide. However we are more than happy to facilitate communications between the hospital and individuals / corporations that may be able to help. Some of the items are described below.
Industrial Clothes Dryer
The only way that hospital can dry bedding etc. is on open-air clothes lines. A rather difficult task when the rainy season lasts for nearly 6 months per year! We would like to see them provided with an industrial clothes dryer to ensure that washing / drying could be effectively and efficiently completed when the weather is inclement.
The cost of purchasing a unit such as shown (right) is approximately US$8000. Depending on where the dryer is purchased, there may also be transport costs to Luang Prabang.
The current Maternity Wing has room for only 14 beds. With an average of around 150 births per month, this means that it's impossible to give women sufficient postpartum time in hospital. Sometimes, in fact, when a healthy woman gives birth in the morning and there are no complications, she may be discharged home later that afternoon.
The hospital needs to find a company or organisation that can build them a new Maternity Wing to increase their bed numbers and their after-care for new born babies.
It is estimated that the construction and fitting-out of such a facility could cost up to US$200,000.
The Paediatric Ward currently only has one fully-operating Humidicrib (Incubator) and one operating Infant Jaundice Phototherapy Unit. With up to 10 babies per month being born pre-term, this is vastly insufficient.
They have 2 extra Humidicribs that could be used if the "peripheral" equipment that goes with them could be provided: 2 low-flow oxygen meters and 2 Pulse Oximeters (oxygen saturation monitors) at approximately US$150 each.
They also need one more Phototherapy Unit - at a cost of approximately US$500.
Depending on where the equipment is purchased, there may also be transport costs to Luang Prabang.