Laos Anesthesia Training Project Promotes International Partnership


The motto of the health workers who provide care to patients at Lao Friends Hospital for Children (LFHC) is: “Treat every patient as if your own child.” The dedication of the hospital staff, as well as that of the numerous volunteers who serve at LFHC, has enabled the recently opened institution to provide free medical care to more than 15,000 children during its first year of operation.

LFHC is a full-service hospital providing both in-patient and out-patient care. It was founded and is supported by the nonprofit organization, Friends Without a Border. Like HVO, Friends Without a Border recognizes that educating local health care providers is a critical component of capacity building and improving health outcomes at the population level. HVO volunteers have long provided training to health workers in a variety of specialty areas at LFHC’s sister institution, the Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap, Cambodia. In March 2016, HVO began its partnership with LFHC with the launch of our anesthesia training project at the site (this partnership has since expanded to include a general pediatrics training project as well).

Volunteers to HVO’s anesthesia training project at LFHC will provide clinical and didactic instruction to the individuals enrolled in the hospital’s nurse anesthesia training program. The long-term goal of this program is to develop an anesthesia department at LFHC that employs at least three nurse anesthetists and one anesthesiologist. At present, there is a nurse nine months into LFHC’s two-year nurse anesthesia training program. The hospital hopes to enroll two more nurses in the program in the coming months. There is a pressing need for volunteers at this project site to support the growth of the training program. LFHC is seeking HVO volunteers who can commit to assignments of at least two weeks. Volunteers with regional experience would be particularly helpful. (Click here to learn more about the volunteer placement process.) 

A unique feature of the LFHC nurse anesthesia training program is that students are able to spend five to seven months of their training at sister institution AHC in Cambodia. During this time, trainees receive clinical and didactic instruction both from AHC nurse anesthetists and HVO volunteers at that project site. Kuelee, the nurse currently completing the LFHC nurse anesthesia training program, has just returned from her time in Cambodia. Anesthesia Laos project director Rick Henker, PhD, RN, CRNA, shared the following description of Kuelee’s experience with HVO staff:

“Kuelee, the Lao nurse that is in the program, has spent seven months at Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Kuelee has learned not only from the nurse anesthetists at AHC but also volunteers spending time at AHC from Oregon Health Sciences University and Seattle Children’s Hospital. The reason for AHC: the practice is similar to LFHC in terms of types of cases and available resources. I have also spent time teaching Kuelee while at AHC.” 

At present, there is no licensure for nurses or nurse anesthetists in Laos, but students will keep track of their clinical cases for possible recognition/accreditation of the program in the future. Volunteers at HVO’s anesthesia training project in Laos will have a unique opportunity to support this innovative training program during the early phases of its inception. Learn more about HVO’s anesthesia training project in Laos, as well as our other anesthesia training programs on our anesthesia programs page.

Source: Health Volunteers Overseas USA