Access to medical care for the poorest
Chinghetti and Pakbeng doctors
Not less than 9.30 h by boat upstream on the Mekong were necessary to reach the small town of Pakbeng which is situated in the North-West part of Laos. In the little town of 30 000 inhabitants, we have an appointment to meet the managers of the association “Chinghetti Pakbeng doctors”.
We meet a team of highly motivated healthcare professionals. Throughout the year, general practitioners, gynecologists, dental surgeons, ophthalmologists, physiotherapists and chemists come in turn for three weeks’ periods. This period of three weeks is justified by the fact that, during this period as volunteers, these practitioners close their own practice in France and then have a loss of income. Moreover everyone pays for his flight ticket and his meals when in Pakbeng. Two simple rooms next to the dispensary are at their disposal for the duration of their stay. A translator and a Lao assistant, who live there all the year round, help them in their daily activities. These two persons are remunerated with bonuses according to the type and the frequency of their interventions.
We discover the dispensary. Outside the building, about twenty Lao natives wait patiently. Inside a dentist is working, a mid-wife who arrived the day before is getting settled for her first day as a volunteer. There is also the president of the association who manages everybody and even finds time to answer our questions. The material and medicines are carefully sorted out and stored according to European standards. The medical care and the procedures are also based on these standards, with a health questionnaire and a health record for patients who suffer from chronical diseases. The huge difference is that, here medical care and medicines are entirely free. In brief, we have met a marvelous organization which is managed by a closely knit and self-willed team.
This association was founded in1999. It began its activity in Mauritania, more precisely in Chinguetti. Presently the political situation doesn’t allow them to go there any more although they continue to forward medicines and other medical material.
The dispensary in Pakbeng was opened in 2007. Its activity ranges from medical care in the dispensary to visits in neighboring villages in the mountains (sometimes reached after several hours’walk).
From November 2007 to December 2013, the figures speak for themselves: 76 medical missions were realized and 30740 persons were treated. A convention is also signed with the sanitary regional authorities of Oudomxai province and the association collaborates with Pakbeng hospital. One year of their action “Health in Laos” represents: 30 medical missions, 30 visited villages and 7500 treated patients.
Present and future projects:
Forwarding of medicines to Mauritania
Forwarding of medicines to Laos
Health for children aged 0 to 5
Prevention and treatment of diabetes
Training of Lao nursing staff, competence transfer
“Secure birth” in North-West Laos
Children’s maxillofacial malformations
Development of exchanges between French and Lao students/doctors.
All the details of their activity on their site: