Though Vientiane is known and loved for its charming, centuries-old colonial buildings preserved throughout the city, the old Mahosot Hospital is one historical building that has been in need of some modern upgrades.
The first hospital in Laos, Mahosot was established in 1910 by French doctors. It has 31 wards with 450 beds, and employs more 700 medical staff, all of whom are Lao nationals.
In an effort to finally modernize the outdated hospital, Chinese architects are collecting data from Mahosot Hospital this week, as they begin to design and plan for the construction of a brand new medical facility.
The assistance for construction at Mahosot comes by way of one of nine cooperation agreements signed in Beijing, between President Bounnhang Vorachit and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
Though the cost of the project is still being calculated, the five-year project is slated to begin this year, with construction scheduled to be completed by 2022. The renovated hospital will be 4 or 5 stories tall, and consist of 600 beds; replacing the existing 450-bed hospital building.
In addition to building a new structure, the Chinese government will also donate new modern medical equipment to all wards at the hospital.
Director General of Mahosot Hospital, Associate Professor Dr Bounthaphany Bounxouei stated, “When the project is completed, it will become the new face for central hospitals in Laos. The hospital will be upgraded to international standards. We hope that it will attract more people to receive treatment at the hospital. It will also reduce people crossing borders to seek medical treatment in neighboring countries.”
The director general believes that even though the doctors and nurses that are currently employed by Mahosot are experienced and capable, some having been trained abroad, they are unable to effectively do their job due to outdated equipment.
With the new building and modern machinery envisioned, doctors and nurses will no longer be hindered by their lack of access to the proper equipment. The modern equipment will consist of diagnostics, radiology and magnetic resonance imaging.
To allow the hospital to remain open during renovation, construction will begin from the heart centre, then will move on to the old Mother and Child Hospital Building, then to the International Clinic and then finally, to the lung disease building.
Though the hospital will continue to collaborate with doctors from other countries for continuous development, the Chinese health sector will be Mahosot’s main cooperator.
The hospital will continue promoting the free-of-charge policy for the underprivileged to ensure that all people have access to standard medical treatment, and will continue upgrading curative skills on endoscopic surgery, heart, hypertension and cancer.
Beyond upgrading the facility and equipment itself, hospital officials have also highlighted that improved staff services will be a focal point for the new and improved Mahosot. The hospital will continue to develop the skills that doctors and nurses need to ensure that people who are seeking treatment at the hospital are received kindly and respectfully.
The hospital also plans to run a strategy named, ‘five good services’ and ‘one satisfaction’. These five good services focuses on reception, cleanliness, comfort, diagnosis and treatment. The ‘one satisfaction’ is aimed at how to create satisfactory service to all patients.
Currently, the hospital admits an estimated 800-1,000 people daily in the outpatient ward, with an estimated 200-300 patients staying overnight for more severe cases.