Tag Archives: prevention

Doing, Doing, Done: Can-Do Cycle Team Dai Rides On Against Odds For HOPE Children’s Charity

Cyclist Charity Team Dai on a Mountaintop!

Laos-based international cyclist charity Team Dai including keen cyclist Ms Thu Ng from Vietnam tackle multiple challenges, raise confidence levels and much-needed funds, seeking to surpass the USD15,000 donation mark for disadvantaged children’s Hope Centre. 

Thinking of cycling, in some parts of the world, and lycra-clad road warriors and their aspirants will come to mind.

In others, perhaps a leisurely cruise down a local bike path or in a park, perhaps by a lake or riverside.

Elsewhere, this is not quite the case. In the case of developing countries like Laos, cycling is often seen as hot, old fashioned, disadvantageous and even highly dangerous.

Road safety is also a malleable concept. Drink driving too often prevails, peaking during festive seasons.

You could say being a cyclist in Laos is generally no “ride in the park”.

In fact, it can be an activity that best suits the determined.

The fairly flat Vientiane plain notwithstanding, Laos is certainly a majority mountainous country.

The quality of roads can leave a great deal wanting. Its a fact that surfacing on many a Lao thoroughfare is often in a more rustic condition than you see at the neighbors. Add a very warm, tropical climate and variable air quality as issues that impact.

 

It is also a developing nation where most folks aspire to motor vehicle ownership, cycling does not convey the status it does in more developed nations.

Cycling them puts you in close contact with all the vehicles, large and small, controlled by drivers of all levels of skill, experience, and temperament.

So why would a woman cycle?

It’s a question keen rider Ms Thu Ng knows better than most.

Growing up in neighboring Vietnam before making a home with her husband from Laos, she has been living in the capital Vientiane for some years.

"This year's Team Dai Challenge was my fourth. For me, it was another great year of riding with like-minded and supportive Team Dai members." Thu Ng, cyclist

“This year’s Team Dai Challenge was my fourth. For me, it was another great year of riding with like-minded and supportive Team Dai members.” Ms Thu Ng

She comes up against reflexively scornful attitudes toward the humble bicycle and cyclists both on the streets and at home.
It’s positive health and social impacts are less understood.

Cycling can be seen as a dangerous activity and certainly not one for a woman, particularly wife or mother, to be engaged in.

Ms Thu Ng tackled her fourth Team Dai Challenge for charity raising some US$14,630 to date for the HOPE Center’s work.

She shared her thoughts on the ride from her perspective as a keen cyclist and woman.

“This year’s Team Dai Challenge was my fourth and for me, it was another great year of riding with like-minded and supportive Team Dai members.” 

“In the Asian culture in which I grew up, I normally get told that women should stay home and not risk their lives.

“This mindset makes it hard for us women to engage in what is seen as extreme sports or exercise.”

“But I am a real optimist and believe that the best part of life is having the freedom to do whatever you are passionate about.

“This is happiness and this is all about life.”

Team Dai members including Ms Thu Ng

Team Dai members including Ms Thu Ng

Similarly, she was drawn to the engaging aspect of making a contribution to the society of the country she calls home.

“It has been said that giving is a simple solution towards some of the world’s most complicated problems. 

“So every year, we volunteer our time and efforts to carry out Team Dai’s mission of raising funds to help our community.

“For me personally, the ability to give support and spread love is the very best part of every Team Dai challenge.”

Team Dai Cyclist Charity Efforts Fund HOPE

The recipient of this affection in 2019 is the HOPE Centre, a community outreach program launched by ARDA Language Centre Vientiane in 2006.

HOPE Centre helps over 200 children and youth who are at risk of abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking.

The center aims to serve the most vulnerable children and youth in the community to see them grow and develop in a healthy way and give them new hope for the future.

It does so by providing a safe environment where children begging on the streets, those living in slum communities and working could stop in during the day to bathe, receive medical care, a nutritious meal, general education and be involved in other activities including arts & crafts, music, sports and participate in special events.

Staff work alongside families living in poor communities to alleviate child labor and exploitation by helping them improve their livelihoods, parenting skills, and living conditions so that their children will have a suitable place to live and attend school.

Cyclist Charity Team Dai at HOPE Center

Cyclist Charity Team Dai at HOPE Center

Trauma counseling, educational therapy, and social skills development to child victims of abuse and exploitation help them address past experiences and move forward to lead productive lives.

Scholarships are also provided to help deter children from begging or being forced into other forms of child labor while providing enhanced educational opportunities.

Meanwhile, sporting activities including soccer and volleyball are used to divert children and youth from being drawn into a downward spiral including drug abuse.

Team Dai Cyclist Members in Luang Prabang

Team Dai Cyclists in Luang Prabang

Located at ARDA Language Centre in Vientiane, HOPE Centre welcomes every child, particularly the poor and vulnerable, a worthy cause Team Dai are proud to support.

Team Dai Cyclist Celebrates

Team Dai Cyclist Celebrates Calf-Building Charity Efforts

Dengue Fever Outbreak Far From Over

Dengue Fever Laos 2017

The fight against dengue fever in the capital is proving to be an uphill battle, as the figure of outbreaks reported has more than doubled in just one month.

Dengue fever cases in Vientiane have inflated from 332 to 696 cases just from May thru June of this year, with one death reported. During the same period last year there were no reports of any outbreaks in the capital.

Year-to-date dengue fever infections nationwide have increased from 1,760 to 3,000 cases from May thru June, along with five deaths being recorded in the country.

Authorities are particularly concerned that dengue cases have been reported in the capital at an alarming higher rate than any other provinces across the country. These figures contrast from January 1 to June 30 of 2016 when only 249 cases  were reported for the entire country.

Acting Director of the National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology under the Ministry of Health, Dr Onechanh Keosavanh stated that openly reporting outbreaks is one of the main approaches in responding to dengue, adding that increasing public awareness is one of the strategies to reduce the risk of dengue transmission.

Local officials and health authorities continue to highly urge people to clear potential mosquito breeding sites around their homes and workplaces to help control the spread of the virus, stressing that local communities need to keep their surroundings clean, while focusing on killing mosquitoes and their larva inside and near these areas. Any still water that collects in jars, vases and dishes should be thrown out. Schools, hospitals, factories, hotels, restaurants, tourist facilities and offices are advised to organize cleaning activities to remove any sources of stagnant water to slow mosquito breeding.

According to the Ministry of Health, reported cases for 2017 are slightly higher than the 1,716 cases reported for 2014, however is still lower when compared to the same period in the epidemic years of 2010 and 2013.

2013 was particularly challenging with 15 out of 17 provinces reporting dengue at startling epidemic levels and resulted in 95 deaths from a total of 44,171 reported dengue cases.

Dengue Fever Thriving in the Capital

dengue fever

Confirmed by health authorities, the Lao public is still in danger of being infected with dengue fever this year, as the reported rate of cases has increased.

From March thru May 26 of this year, the recorded cases of dengue fever rates in the capital were higher than other provinces in the country, with 268 cases reported while during the same time last year, no cases of infections were reported.

In an effort to reduce the risk of dengue related illnesses, Head of Epidemiology Division under the Vientiane Health Department, Dr Chanthalay Sayavong, believes that increasing public awareness is one of the main strategies to prevent dengue transmission.

“In communities, the cooperation of villagers is necessary to remove mosquito breeding grounds. Family members, family heads, village heads, associations, charities and monks are also important in the battle against the potentially fatal virus,” he said.

Health authorities face a continued threat from the mosquito-borne virus during this peak risk period. Every household is advised to toss out water that collects in jars and vases, and to cover such vessels to prevent more water from filling inside, as  pools of stagnant water is where mosquitoes typically lay their eggs

People are urged to clear shrubbery from around their homes, ensure that tins, jars and tires are turned upside down so that water does not collect water and to routinely change water in flower vases.

Dr Chanthalay mentioned that Laos also requires vector surveillance, resulting in pilot projects in target provinces to determine dengue transmission risk areas and to monitor changes in mosquito density.

He noted that dengue is an infectious tropical disease transmitted by particular breeds of mosquito, in this case the Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus species,  and symptoms are rashes, severe headaches, and pain in the joints.

However, the six provinces of Bokeo, Luang Namtha, Xaysomboun, Phongsaly, Huaphan and Xieng Khuang have not reported any outbreaks recently.

According to the National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology, there were 281 dengue cases in Vientiane last year from a total of 1,950 dengue cases recorded nationwide.

Seven fatalities were recorded, with Champassak being the most impacted from the outbreak, six of the seven deaths were recorded in the province along with the highest number of cases reported,  while neighboring Saravan province reported the other death.

HIV Prevention Project Underway in Champassak

The Integrated Development Project for the Prevention of HIV/AIDS has launched in Champassak province to prevent the risk of human exploitation and trafficking and risk of sexually contracted infections.

The project is now in its second phase in Phonthong district and runs from 2016-2019. The project targets six villages which are close to the Thai border and therefore vulnerable to the risks of unsafe migration.

The risks include those of abuse, drugs, human exploitation and trafficking and sexually contracted infections. All of these risks have the potential to damage lives, so the project is focused on their prevention.

The first phase of the project from 2012-2015 in Phonthong district provided assistance to local HIV-contracted families for their physical and psychological health as well to improve their living standards.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony to continue the Integrated Development Project for the Prevention of HIV/AIDS took place in Vientiane on Friday, inked by Head of the Champassak provincial Health Department Mr Somkiat Vorralath and Country Director of World Concern Laos Mr Nigel Goddard.

Mr Goddard said World Concern Laos has had the privilege of serving the Lao people since 1983, working in Luang Namtha, Saravan, Xekong and Champassak provinces.

We are currently working through integrated development projects in Saravan and Champassak provinces, working to strengthen communities in their capacity for livelihoods, health education, and protection, he said.

We see prevention as better, more cost effective and more effective in alleviating suffering than cure.

That is why this project focuses on awareness raising, vocational training, leadership and community development in order to promote a more protective environment, which helps prevent unsafe migration and its risks, he added.

If villagers who migrate are aware of how to protect themselves and how to migrate safely then they will be less likely to fall into dangerous situations or contract HIV and spread it in their home villages .

If villages have strong governance they will be better protected by their leaders, and with improved livelihoods and quality of life in their own village they are less likely to choose to migrate to risky situations.

Source: Vientiane Times

Polio Prevention Sees Good Results

Laos has achieved good results in its vaccination campaign for polio prevention in all targeted provinces this year but there are still challenges and lessons which can be learned to improve coverage in the next round.