The Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Laos is located in the centre of Indochina, sharing borders with China to the North Myanmar to Northwest, Thailand to the West, Cambodia to the South and Vietnam to the East.
The landscapes of northern Laos are dominated by rough and ruggedly beautiful mountains.The Mekong River is the main geographical feature in the west and forms a natural border with Thailand in some areas. The Mekong flows through much of Lao territory and shapes much of the lifestyle of the people of Laos. In the South the Mekong reaches a breadth of 20 kilometers, creating an area with thousands of islands.
Lao people open and friendly, and they possess a strongly developed sense of courtesy and respect.
One of the trademarks of Laos is the diversity of its people and cultures. There are a number of traditional arts and crafts that represent their way of life. Lao has a rich cultural heritage with religious art and architecture forming the cornerstone of artistic traditions.
Across the country there is a plethora of distinctive monuments and architectural styles. There are three architectural styles, corresponding to the geographical location of the temples and monasteries. French colonial architecture, Buddhist architecture in temples, traditional Lao houses raised on stilts.
There are approximately 2.8 million children living in Laos. Most face many hardships: half of all children under the age of five are chronically malnourished. Around 11 per cent of children between the ages of five and 14 are involved in child labour.
Children in rural areas are particularly disadvantaged. Basic services such as education, health or other forms of assistance cannot reach those living in remote areas with no access to road or railway networks. Schools in rural areas have fewer resources, and a lower enrollment rate than those in urban areas.
“It’s hard to imagine that that there are still places in the world where children suffer from preventable diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea; but it is a hard fact for many children in Lao PDR. The need for access to quality healthcare is urgent, and Friends has taken the first steps in creating a healthier future for the children of Laos.”
Friends Without A Border* is committed to care for, educate, and provide for destitute, abandoned, neglected, ill and dependent children and their families of certain foreign countries. We started in Cambodia and will maintain our presence there indefinitely. In November 2013, Friends started construction on a new pediatric hospital in Luang Prabang, Laos called Lao Friends Hospital for Children. It was opened on February 11th, 2015!
Lao Friends Hospital for Children (LFHC) provides free medical care and health education to children in Luang Prabang, Laos. Through the model of Treatment + Education + Prevention, the hospital treats over 20,000 children annually, educates hundreds of local medical professionals, and prevents thousands of diseases through its Outreach Program. LFHC’s guiding motto is “treat every patient as if your own child.” The vision is to create a locally-sustainable hospital by and for the Lao people. Currently the hospital employs 16 Lao physicians, 31 Lao nurses, 16 Lao paramedics, 13 Lao administrators, 8 Expats, and 82 international medical volunteers (including 14 Canadians).
Why the need for a free hospital in Luang Prabang? One out of every fifteen Laotian children dies before the age of five. Nearly half of Lao children have stunted growth due to malnutrition and recurrent intestinal infections, such as diarrhoea. Laos children also have an unusually high rate of anemia and a related blood disease, thalassemia. Despite these significant health issues, Lao Friends Hospital for Children is the only children’s hospital in the province. These children truly need our help.
LFHC is the only hospital in northern Laos to offer neonatal services, providing life-saving care for newborn babies that otherwise have no access to proper healthcare for essential development.
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The hospital is developing into an international-standard pediatric hospital, offering services including: Outpatient and Inpatient departments, 24 hour 7 day a week Emergency Services, 24 hour 7 day a week Neonatal Unit, Laboratory, Pharmacy, Radiology & Diagnostic Imaging and Surgery.
Canadian, Dr. Cheri Niissen-Jordan, from Calgary Alberta was instrumental in ramping up the Laos Friends Hospital for Children when it initially opened. She is a pediatrician with immense global health experience (clinical, business, research); she is a leader in the field.
*Friends Without A Border (Friends) is a not-for-profit corporation under section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Friends is dedicated to providing medical care to underserved children of Southeast Asia. Canadian donors will receive a tax receipt for all cash donations. To donate please visit click CW Asia Fund Foundation
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