Tag Archives: health

Regional Health Officials Mull Ways to Control Infectious Diseases

The prevention and control of infectious diseases will be more effective in the Mekong Sub-Region and Asia-Pacific Region after international health officials met for talks in Champassak province last week.

Health officials from Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam discussed how to combat emerging diseases and public health emergencies that are now threatening people’s health in the region.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Regional Workshop on Implementing Asia-Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases and Public Health Emergencies in the Mekong Sub-region, Minister of Health Associate Prof. Dr Bounkong Syhavong said that over the past few years, countries in the Mekong Sub-Region and Asia-Pacific Region have faced outbreaks of various infectious diseases like SARS, bird flu and Zika.

I hope that discussions among health officials in the region will help us keep diseases at bay and prevent future outbreaks, he said.

In addition, the workshop encouraged medical professionals in the region to work in a more coordinated manner to combat diseases.

Measures adopted by health officials included capacity building and good standards preparedness for preventing and handling infectious diseases.

Participants agreed the workshop would promote coordination and cooperation among health officials in Laos and other countries in the region.

This included an agreement to work closely together in the event of a future outbreak of infectious disease.

Lao health officials from Phongsaly, Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Bokeo, Huaphan, Xieng Khuang, Khammuan, Saravan, Xekong, Attapeu and Champassak provinces attended the workshop.


Source: Vientiane Times

Animal Vaccination Day Gives Boost to Livestock Health

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is encouraging every province and district in the country to make sure livestock are vaccinated against common diseases.

Last year, animal disease outbreaks occurred in many provinces. Regular vaccination would improve the health of individual animals and also help to make entire areas disease free, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr Phouangparisak Pravongviengkham, said on Friday.

The deputy minister was speaking at an event in Phonxay village, Xaythany district, Vientiane, to mark National Animal Vaccination Day on November 11.

Farmers across the country are being urged to get their livestock vaccinated to decrease the number of unexpected animal deaths.

The day focused on the importance of vaccinating all livestock, as vaccinations can prevent terrible suffering and deaths among animals.

Today, more than 400 animals will be vaccinated, including buffaloes, cattle, goats, and pigs, Dr Phouangparisak said.

The ministry will focus on surveillance in high-risk areas, animal movement control and illegal trading. Officials instructed authorities around the country to carry out similar vaccination activities on this day.

This year, we hope that farmers cooperate so that 80-100 percent of animals in target districts are vaccinated. We would like to see 70 percent of livestock in towns vaccinated and 40 percent of animals in rural areas, Dr Phouangparisak added.

We’ll use more than 10 types of vaccine to protect livestock, including poultry, to prevent seasonal diseases, he said.

We selected November 11 as a suitable day for this initiative because this is when livestock gather in pens and most farmers have finished their rice harvesting. It is also the start of the cold season, when many animal diseases can occur.

An animal cannot tell you what it feels but diligent owners can spot signs that something is not right. But with some diseases, which can be prevented by vaccination, signs of illness may mean it is already too late.

According to the Xaythany agriculture and forestry office, people can bring their animals to be vaccinated at any district agriculture and forestry office from November 2016 to November 2017.

It is expected that over 600,000 animals will be vaccinated in Xaythany district this fiscal year.

Source: Vientiane Times

Mental Health Expert Calls for more Support for Sufferers

Mental health experts in Laos believe the use of so-called psychological first aid is the best way to prevent an increase in the number of mental health patients.

The majority of Lao people with mental health issues do not have access to treatment and other basic health services because Laos lacks trained personnel in this field.

Programme Manager Dr Chantharavady Choulamany of Basic Needs, an international NGO focused on mental health issues, spoke to Vientiane Times last week at a press conference to mark World Mental Health Day.

She said “We urgently need to implement the concept of psychological first aid in Laos.”

She claims efforts in support of the day will focus on basic, pragmatic psychological support by people who find themselves in an assisting role, whether they be health staff, teachers, community workers or police officers.

“Despite its name, psychological first aid covers both psychological and social support. Just like general health care never consists of physical first aid alone, similarly, no mental health care system should consist of psychological first aid alone,” she said.

“Indeed, the investment in psychological first aid is part of a longer-term effort to ensure that anyone in acute distress due to a crisis in mental health is able to receive basic  support. Moreover, those who are in need of more than psychological first aid will receive additional, advanced support from health care and social services,” she added.

Dr Chantharavady explained that practitioners in Vientiane have more of an understanding about mental health treatment in their communities. This means they can better ascertain the mental and physical health of their patients in comparison to rural areas.

Thousands of people with mental health conditions around the world are deprived of their human rights. They are not only discriminated against, stigmatised and marginalised but are also subject to emotional and physical abuse in both mental health facilities and the community at large.

Poor quality care due to a lack of qualified health professionals and dilapidated facilities leads to further violations.

According to Basic Needs, there are over 70,000 people in Vientiane with reported mental health issues. At the same time, only about 29,000 people with mental health issues have access to treatment and health services because Laos lacks both human and financial resources in the field of mental health.

This year, the WHO will be raising awareness of what can be done to ensure that people with mental health conditions can continue to live with dignity, through human rights oriented policy and law, training of health care professionals, respect for informed consent to treatment, inclusion in decision-making processes, and public information campaigns.


Source: Vientiane Times

Experts Voice Support for Health Sector Reform

The recent review of the National Health Sector Reform Phase II (2016-2020) has received overwhelming interest and response from development partners.

The review was jointly organised by the Ministry of Health and partners including the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), World Health Organisation (WHO), Lao-Luxembourg Development Cooperation, Swiss Red Cross, and the World Bank.

Minister of Health Dr Bounkong Syhavong last week confirmed the ministry’s commitment to invest in the education and health of the Lao people.

We have achieved several of the health-related MDG targets and remain committed to improve the health of our population under the SDGs. The health sector reform phase II for 2016-2020 will provide the roadmap as we focus on five priority areas, he said.

The five priority areas focus on capacity building through human resources for health, improving health financing, providing better governance, management and coordination, investing in infrastructure and service delivery, and health information systems.

JICA expressed support for the health minister’s initiative and Ministry of Health’s decision to strengthen the implementation of the Health Sector Reform Phase II as a strategy to move toward Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

JICA Senior Representative Ms Saeda Makimoto said that expanding the provision of essential quality health services and ensuring equitable access are two directions pursued by many countries.

The Japan-Lao PDR Joint Development Cooperation Plan for Sustainable Development aim to improve the quality of healthcare and rectify domestic disparity with the goal of achieving the SDGs and bringing about improvements in poverty reduction and human resource development, she said.

They have conducted exchanges with officials from the Ministry of Health to visit Japan and learn lessons and policy options on UHC and health insurance. The UHC EU-Luxembourg Development Cooperation-WHO partnership also supports the achievement of UHC by 2025.

WHO Representative to Laos Dr Juliet Fleischl said We are glad to see development partners committed to the same goals and priorities in supporting the government to strengthen primary health care and improve financial protection. A country-led and country-owned process advancing toward UHC and the health SDG will be supported by Phase II of the health sector reform programme.

WHO will focus on strengthening primary health care to build a resilient health system and financial protection in ensuring that the poor will not suffer financial hardships when accessing healthcare.

To improve service delivery, the Ministry of Health will use integrated maternal and child health as entry points, which also include health promotion in providing family planning counselling, ante-natal checks, immunisation activities from fixed points, and outreach services to hard to reach, vulnerable communities.

With clear direction from the minister, the work of the development partners will be aligned to implement health sector reform for the next five years.


Source: Vientiane Times

Infectious Diseases the Main Health Issue among Under-fives

Infectious diseases are the main cause of illness and death among children under the age of five treated at the Children’s Hospital in Vientiane.

Minister Raises Environmental Health Concerns in Manila

The Lao health sector needs to continue to address basic water, sanitation and waste management issues in healthcare facilities, schools and rural and remote communities.

Ministry Postpones Printing of Graphic Health Warnings on Cigarette Packets

The printing of graphic health warning images on all cigarette packets made by Lao companies will be postponed until May 1 next year, a delay of seven months from the original agreement to start printing the new packs this month.

More Oudomxay Villagers Get Free Health Checks

More than 6,000 people in eight remote villages of Houn district in Oudomxay province recently received free dental, ear, nose and throat (ENT) and eye examinations, along with general health checks.