Survey Finds Only 20 Percent Of Vientiane Capital Residents Satisfied With Public Hospitals

Patients are waiting receive their medical treatment. (representational image, Photo: Lao Tours)

A survey of 150 people who used the services of three central hospitals in Vientiane Capital in April 2023 found that only 20 percent, or 30 people, were satisfied with the services provided.

Around 66 percent of the patients (99 people), were dissatisfied with the service. Among the dissatisfied respondents, 48 percent cited the unwelcoming attitude and rude behavior of doctors as the main reasons for their discontent.

This was highlighted by Mrs. Thoummaly Vongphachanh, Chairperson of the Cultural and Social Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, while she was representing the report of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare during the 5th Ordinary Session of the 9th National Assembly.

Mrs. Thoummaly highlighted several shortcomings of the country’s public health sector. She said that the government’s attention toward public health insurance in the past was not enough to prevent the health insurance fund from being poorly administered, having an insufficient budget, and accumulating a debt of LAK 171 billion.

She added that the cost of service charges of medical treatments has not been adjusted to reflect changing economic and social conditions, particularly during periods of high inflation.

Additionally, she informed that the government’s social security coverage expansion is slow, the public relations campaign is inadequate, and the budget is limited, to ramp up the country’s public health care system.

Alongside, in July, two major public hospitals in Khammouane and Salavanh provinces announced that they had run out of essential medicines due to unpaid debts to pharmaceutical suppliers.

The situation caused concern among the public, as it raised questions about the sustainability of the healthcare system in Laos. However, provincial health authorities overruled notices issued by the two hospitals, assuring patients of treatment as normal.

The healthcare system in Laos faces many challenges, such as poor funding, limited resources, and inadequate infrastructure. More needs to be done to address these challenges and ensure that all people in Laos have access to quality healthcare.