LAO PDR

Cardiac Screening in Lao PDR

By Meghan Jones

Children’s Medical Fund (CMF) was recently able to work in collaboration with several partners to implement screening aimed at identifying children in need of life-saving cardiac surgeries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many patients in Lao PDR were unable to receive necessary medical treatment, and many lost their lives. Additionally, the current economic crisis in Lao PDR, involving sky high inflation and unemployment rates, has hindered access to healthcare for many. CMF has been supporting Laotian children receiving cardiac surgeries for about 10 years now, and the need for these healthcare interventions remains high.

CMF worked alongside the Royal Thai Embassy in Vientiane, the Paediatric Cardiac Surgery Foundation (PCSF), Chulalongkorn University Hospital in Bangkok, and the Thai Red Cross to organise this large-scale outreach screening. The event happened on 13 October 2023 at Mahosot Hospital, the largest hospital in Lao PDR. Patients identified as needing cardiac surgeries will be supported in receiving the necessary paperwork to travel to Thailand where they will receive surgeries in one of two hospitals located in Bangkok. Child’s Dream will then support the transportation cost, food allowance and medical expenses for these children.

In total, 92 children were screened and 37 will require cardiac surgery, with three of these cases being identified as urgent. Additionally, 10 patients need to gain weight before they can receive surgeries, and hopefully can have operations next year. Seven patients need further investigation before a recommendation is made. Due to the excellent collaboration of all involved partners and the wonderful support of Child’s Dream donors, many children will receive the surgeries they need to hopefully live long and impactful lives.

In total, 92 children were screened and 37 will require cardiac surgery, with three of these cases being identified as urgent.