Asia Is Unprepared For The Next Flu Outbreak

Epidemics and outbreaks happen very quickly – anywhere and without warning. While advancements in science have equipped us to better handle the flu, Asia’s continued growth in recent years and lack of sufficient infrastructure have made it difficult to handle large scale outbreaks, cope with hospitalisation numbers and contain transmission between individuals. These factors have made it easier for viruses to spread within local communities and across the region, putting everyone at risk.

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J&C Services Launches Ground-Breaking Health & Life Insurance

J&C Services together with Lane Xang Assurance (LAP) just launched a new groundbreaking Health & Life Insurance, called J&C Elite Care. “It’s the first health & life insurance product with a comprehensive cover up to US$ 100’000 which is available for Lao citizens and Expats living in Laos” says Mr. Stephan Aeschbach, owner of J&C Services.

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Localised Thunderstorm Alert Issued Ahead Of Weekend

People across all parts of the country should be on alert for summer thunderstorms and pay close attention to weather forecasts as hot weather and storm risk intensifies.
A moderate high pressure system emanating from southern China will cover all parts of Laos and gusty westerly and easterly winds are set to prevail over the country, which are expected to cause outbreaks of summer thunderstorms from Saturday to ……

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Melioidosis: Thailand’s Unknown Deadly Disease

Thailand’s third most-deadly infectious disease kills 40 percent of those infected, but very few have ever heard of it. By the time Bunsri Mamak, 50, arrived at Sappasit Prasong Hospital in Ubon Ratchathani city in Thailand’s northeast, he was delirious and a very sick man. He had spent several weeks visiting local clinics and hospitals trying to find out what was wrong with him when he ….

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Reminder: Importation of E-Cigarettes and Refills Into Thailand Is Illegal

People should be careful about vaping in Thailand. While using e-cigs them selves are not illegal, it is illegal to import e-cigs and e-liquids and you could face up to 5 years in prison for possession and up to 10 year for production and sale and a fine of five times the value of the goods or both.
Apparently there is ‘NO’ law banning the ….

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Vientiane Dengue Fever Rates Higher This Year

Health authorities in the capital have admitted that the outbreak of dengue fever is higher this year compared to the same period in 2016.
From January 1-24 this year, 70 dengue fever infections have been recorded in Vientiane, while in the same period last year there were no reports of any outbreaks. The news comes with 12 out of 18 provinces in the country reporting dengue fever at alarming epidemic levels though …..

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51 People Die In Two Weeks Of Accidents

Vientiane has again topped the list of road accidents around the country over a two week period, with 66 recorded accidents and nine fatalities.
A report from the Traffic Police Department of the Ministry of Public Security provided figures from December 29, 2016, to January 8, 2017.
In Vientiane, 66 accidents were recorded, 93 people were……

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Bangkok Hospital Starts Offering Dengue Vaccine

Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital in Bangkok has introduced the vaccine against four strains of the dengue virus, making it the first facility in Thailand to offer immunisation against the mosquito-borne disease.
Dr. On-umar Banpamai, an infectious diseases specialist at Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital, said at a briefing the vaccine against the dengue virus had been studied and developed for decades. It has also been tested in ….

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Laos Joins Race Against The Clock To Overcome Antimicrobial Resistance

Laos and other countries around the world have pledged to take immediate action to combat the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
WHO Representative to Laos Dr Juliet Fleischl emphasised the urgency of the issue this week, saying “We are beginning to see cases of resistance to antibiotics of last resort being reported in many countries. If we do not address antimicrobial resistance now, doctors and nurses will be empty-handed against a growing number of ….

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Poverty Reduction Slows

Poverty reduction has slowed a little but the government will strive to reduce the number of poor families from 6.56 percent in 2016 down to 6.09 percent by 2017, the government has told the National Assembly.
There are four main reasons for the slower rate of poverty reduction, Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Souphanh Keomixay told the ongoing ordinary session of parliament when he presented a …..

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First Two Zika-Infected Babies Born With Microcephaly: Thailand

Thailand has reported its first two cases of Zika-infected babies with microcephaly, or babies born with abnormally small heads, as health authorities urge pregnant women to avoid mosquito bites and unprotected sex to prevent infection.
Meanwhile, the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention added another 11 countries to its list where pregnant women …

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Vientiane Rescue Passes On Prized Award To The People Of Laos

Vientiane Rescue 1623, under the Foundation for Assisting Poor People of the Lao PDR, presented the Ramon Magsaysay Award 2016 to the Lao people, after receiving the award in Manila, the Philippines, last month.
A press conference was held at the Vientiane Center on Sunday to honour the recipients and officially hand over the …

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Vientiane Rescue Prepares For Boat Racing Festival

Over 20 volunteers from Vientiane Rescue 1623 are performing drills to assist anyone in the water in preparation for this year’s boat racing festival in the capital next month.
Vat Chan Festival is the largest boat racing competition in Laos and takes place annually the day after Buddhist Lent ends. This year’s festival falls on October 17.
A senior officer with Vientiane Rescue 1623 under ….

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Unwanted Pregnancies Ranks As Top Issue Among Vientiane Youth

The problem of unwanted pregnancies is rated among the top issues at the Vientiane Youth Centre for Health and Development when it comes to evaluating the increased numbers of people who visit the centre to receive advice and treatment, a director confirmed recently
The most common reason for young people to visit is to consult on problems of unwanted pregnancies, with the second most common reason being …

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No Zika Cases Detected In Laos

Health officials are keeping a close eye on the potential for Zika virus to spread to Laos after a number of cases have been reported in some ASEAN countries, including Singapore and neighbouring Thailand.
A health official in Vientiane told Vientiane Times on Thursday that so far this year Laos has yet to find any persons infected with Zika virus.
“But there is a risk of infection if ….

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“Ya Ice” Users Are On The Rise, Sources Say

Methamphetamine use is on the rise in the country due to the foreigners, including those from neighbouring countries, using the drug when they come to visit or work, according to the police.
Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) in Southeast Asia include drugs such as methamphetamine which is also known as “crystal meth” or just “ice” or “ya ice” in the region.
A police official from the Ministry of Public Security told Vientiane Times that …..

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Vientiane Rescuers Win Magsaysay Award

Vientiane Rescue 1623, a humanitarian group formed by volunteers to save lives in the Lao capital, is among the six recipients of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award, regarded as Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
Vientiane Rescue was set up in 2007 to provide first-aid services for free on roads in the Lao capital. Those behind it are a small team of students and ordinary people who began …..

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Ministry, WHO Announce Outbreak Of Hepatitis A in Xieng Khuang

The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation in Laos jointly held a press conference last week to put an end to the rumours concerning the so-called “new mystery disease” that had been circulating on social media.
Many people received updates on Facebook concerning an unidentified illness that struck down about 60 people in Xieng Khuang province this week, causing widespread concern and speculation about this “new” disease.
Speaking at the press conference …..

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Tobacco Companies To Display Graphic Health Warnings On Cigarette Packets

The government will soon require tobacco companies to display graphic health warnings on cigarette packets in the hope of reducing the number of deaths from smoking-related illnesses.
Tobacco companies will need to display these warnings relaying information on the dangers of smoking by October of this year.
Laos is still finding it difficult to implement health and legal policies to further reduce smoking in the country due to the …..

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Watch Out For Pink Eye In The Wet Season

At this time of year you may notice friends and family members with at least one pink eye. This isn’t a colourful contact lens, it’s Conjunctivitis, an eye infection that commonly occurs during the rainy season when bacteria thrives.

While both bacteria and viruses cause conjunctivitis, the Ophthalmology Centre in Vientiane has found that bacteria are almost always the cause of the cases it encounters.

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Zika Virus Alert In Udon Thani’s Sangkhom District

Udon Thani’s Sangkhom district has been declared off-limits especially to pregnant women after a resident of the district was quarantined in Taiwan after he was tested to be infected with Zika virus.
Health volunteers in all villages in Tambon Sang Nang Khao of Nong Khai’s Pone Pisai district were instructed to mount a campaign to …

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“An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”

Seeing this picture of someone from Vientiane on social media, I couldn’t help but think of this old saying. “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”
Seeing all the unsafe thing that people do in this country makes me cringe.
As a former Medic it always made me sad to look at my patient on the stretcher and think of the ….

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Banana Plantation Study In Laos Shows Negative Impacts

The negative impacts from banana plantations in Laos could be outweighing the benefits.
Despite the fact that banana plantation investments have created job opportunities for local people, reduced labour migration, contributed to social activities and improved infrastructure they are also having negative impacts on people’s health and the environment.
The findings were outlined in a study undertaken by the institute in cooperation with the National University of Laos …..

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Vientiane Rescue: The Deadly Streets Of Laos

In the blinding glare of headlights, the traffic keeps coming. Motorbikes swerve dangerously, cars drive down the wrong side of the road – it’s Friday night in Vientiane, the busiest night of the week on the Laotian capital’s roads.
With the country’s economy booming, more people in Laos can afford motorbikes and cars than ever before – and they drive ….

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Laos Reports Local Transmission Of Zika Virus

Laos is the latest country to report a local transmission of Zika virus, according to the World Health Organization, as fears mount over the mosquito-borne illness that has been linked to birth defects.
Asia has seen only a sprinkling of cases of the virus, but a surge in Latin America this year has pushed the UN health agency to declare Zika a global health emergency….

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Thailand Braces For ‘Mega-Outbreak’ Of Dengue Fever

After a year which saw an explosion of Dengue fever infections, Thailand is bracing itself for an even worse 2016 with experts warning the number of infections may be on par with the 1987 mega-outbreak.
Thailand recorded some 140,000 cases of infection last year, the highest number since the 170,000 cases of the 1987 crisis.
The first line of defense against the epidemic that has swept through Southeast Asia sees teams of …..

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New Superbug Spread To Laos Reflects Danger In Overuse Of Antibiotics

You’ve heard of “superbugs,” right – bacteria that have grown resistant to antibiotics due to widespread misuse of the drugs?
When someone was infected by one these bugs, there was always a last line of defense: harsh, aggressive antibiotics called polymyxins. But health experts warned that the day would come when that defense could fall, when we would enter a …..

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Venomous Predators: Giant Red Centipede

I’ve had them all in my garden: snakes, spiders, scorpions and other creepy crawleys… but recently, after 11 years in Laos, I came face to face with a new and truly scary species: the Giant Red Centipede (Scolopendra subspinipes).
When I saw it crawling around I was totally dismayed that such a creature might be living in my yard…. and actually I noticed it under my dining table (inside the house) while having dinner ! Yes, these guys are predators and are highly venomous … this one was probably looking for a big dinner himself ….

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More People Die On Vientiane’s Roads

Four people were killed and six others sustained critical injuries in road accidents in the capital over the two-day period from September 9-10.
According to the Vientiane Traffic Police Department, a pick-up truck carrying 17 students overturned on Thursday morning in Donnoun village, Xaythany district, killing two passengers and seriously injuring six others. Other passengers were also injured in the accident. Police said the driver …..

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Diphtheria Breaks Out In Laos

In recent months diphtheria outbreaks have been reported in six places in Laos, in Vientiane and the provinces of Vientiane, Savannakhet, Khammuan, Huaphan and Luang Namtha. A total of 476 cases including six deaths were reported as of July 25, 2015.
Enhanced surveillance in the provinces is needed to stay abreast of the new cases; it is important that the local authorities and health workers participate in active case findings, facilitate contact tracing to……

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Rescue Team Reports Increasing Road Accidents In Capital

Road accidents continue to kill and maim people across the country and Vientiane rescue teams are on standby 2 4 hours to help crash victims.
According to the rescue team of the Foundation for Assisting Poor People of the Lao PDR (Vientiane Rescue) the number of road accidents was continuing to increase with the team being called out more frequently attending up to 40 to 50 accidents each day. This compared with only five to 10 calls a day last year.
The rescue team reported over the six months period from January to June this year they attended 735 road accidents in Vientiane, during …..

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Lao Rescue Teams Awarded 8 International Medals

Eight members of Lao rescue teams received one gold, one silver and six bronze medals from the International Disaster Medical Rally recently in Chiang Rai province, Thailand.
The rally from June 22-25 had rescue teams from 10 Asean countries competing to exercise their skills and experience in dealing with a number of mock emergency cases such as a building collapse, chemical leakage and water rescue.
Laos was represented by all three rescue teams currently serving the public in the capital, namely those from the Lao Red Cross, the Foundation for Assisting Poor People of Lao PDR (Vientiane Rescue) and …..

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TB Drug Resistance On The Rise

The number of tuberculosis (TB) patients who have developed drug resistance has increased this year, posing serious concerns for health officials.
Setthathirath Hospital identified 20 patients as drug resistant when they came to the hospital for treatment this year.
“We have been seeing a gradual increase in the number of drug resistant TB patients in the last few years and we recorded more cases this …….

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Mosquito Bites Blamed For Death Of Expat Volunteer Teaching In Laos

An east Lancashire man who was working in Laos has died after contracting a tropical disease believed to have been caused by mosquito bites.
HGV driver David Murray, also known as ‘Muzz’ to his friends, was three months into a year-long stay at a project aimed at teaching young orphans English when bites on his legs became infected.
The 39-year-old was taken to hospital by volunteers at the Sae Lao Project, in the village of Nathong, in Laos, but died after going …..

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What is a Heart Attack ?

A heart attack, or myocardial infarction (MI), is permanent damage to the heart muscle. “Myo” means muscle, “cardial” refers to the heart, and “infarction” means death of tissue due to lack of blood supply.
A network of blood vessels known as coronary arteries surround the heart muscle and supply it with blood that is rich in oxygen. The heart muscle needs this oxygen to function. A heart attack occurs when a coronary artery becomes suddenly blocked, stopping the …..

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Thailand On Red Alert For MERS Threat

THAILAND is swinging into full alert against the killer Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) threat, which has already had serious impacts on South Korea, compelling the country to cut its interest rate in a bid to soften the blow to its economy already burdened by slack demand.
Thailand has seen no MERS cases yet, but Surachet said the move was necessary to facilitate efforts to control the deadly disease if it was ……

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New Drug Treatment Centre In Laos

The Thai government yesterday provided grant assistance worth some 50 million baht (almost 12 billion kip) to fund the construction of a drug treatment and rehabilitation centre at Phonhong district hospital in Vientiane province.
The Thai funding will also be used to improve the outpatient building at the hospital and buy medical equipment to treat road accident victims.
The project to build a drug treatment and rehabilitation centre is part of the Lao government’s plan for the development of the health sector, as it needs to provide health services for the victims of ….

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What Is First Aid In Laos ?

Stop ten people in the street and ask them, “What is first aid?” Their responses might range from “It’s putting on a Band-Aid” or “It’s giving CPR” or “It’s calling the Doctor. “All of these answers would be appropriate because first aid encompasses the entire gamut of help and medical assistance that someone gives — not only to an injured person — but to a person who is sick.
First aid applies to a broad range of medical situations. First aid is not just a set of skills. It also involves the ability to …..

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New Law Promulgated To Regulate Alcoholic Beverages

A new law promulgated recently aims to better regulate alcoholic beverage businesses and their advertisements, hopefully preventing people from drinking to excess and lessening the resultant social and economic impacts.
According to Article 20 of the 26 page Law on Alcoholic Beverages, venues offering alcoholic beverages are not allowed to be located near healthcare and education centres, state offices, religious venues, embassies, public parks, opera houses, passenger vehicle stations, petrol stations, sports complexes and factories.
In addition, advertisements for alcoholic beverage products must not attempt to …..

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Vientiane Rescue (call 1623) Seeks Donation of First Aid Material

We are heading into Pi Mai and already Vientiane Rescue are overwhelmed with the numbers of calls. Emergency calls increased by 200% in 5 months and almost 500 victims were registered last month … and Pi Mai hasn’t even yet started !
Sébastien Perret from Vientiane Rescue told us today that the organisation is in desperate need of First Aid Material, mainly gauze pads and medical gloves.
In fact, Vientiane Rescue can barely afford to operate at all. The volunteers rely entirely on private donations to keep the emergency service ….

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Vientiane Rescue (call 1623) Opens Additional Centre In Hadxaifong

Vientiane Rescue with its official name being the Foundation for Assisting Poor People of Laos is setting up the rescue hotline centre ‘1623′ in Nonghay village, Hadxaifong district, to provide urgent assistance to road accident victims over Lao New Year.
This is the second rescue centre to be established by the Foundation, with the first located in Thatluang village, Xaysettha district.
“I think the number of accidents will increase over Lao New Year on April 14, 15 and 16, especially as some drivers flout the traffic regulations by drinking and …..

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AIDS Deaths Down But HIV Infections Rise In Laos

Deaths from HIV/AIDS in Laos are on the decrease but the country continues to see new cases in significant numbers, Lao News Agency KPL reported on Monday.
The annual death toll attributed to AIDS had shown annual decreases from 130 deaths in 2010 through to 104 in 2013, reflecting improved efficacy and availability of anti-retroviral treatments.
Disturbingly however, the number of new cases in the country continues to rise with ….

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A New Pediatric Hospital Opens Up In Luang Prabang

Khou is an eight year-old girl from the village of Nong Khuay, a Khmu community two hours away from Luang Prabang. Ostensibly like other kids her age, she actually suffers frequent seizures and shows signs of a development disability. Because access to quality healthcare in Nong Khuay – and most rural villages in Laos – is unavailable, Khou has never been diagnosed, treatments never investigated. Until now.
Lao Friends Hospital for Children is the realization of the kindness of renowned Japanese photographer, Kenro Izu. While visiting Cambodia in 1994, he was struck by ……

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Saviours of the Street – Vientiane Rescue

When French paramedic Sebastian Perret witnessed a fatal accident in the Laos capital, Vientiane, in 2010, he was shocked that no ambulance came to help.
Every day, four people die in road crashes across Laos, giving the country one of the region’s worst road fatalities per capita in the region. Many more are injured but most cannot afford to pay a government ambulance to help them.
Unable to ignore the plight of the city’s road crash victims, Perret set up Vientiane Rescue, a volunteer ……

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Drug-Resistant Malaria On Myanmar-India Border A Risk To World Health

In the parts of the world where malaria still rears its ugly head, the sometimes-deadly parasitic disease is mostly controlled and bested by a class of drugs called artemisinins. But a new study shows pockets of drug-resistant malarial outbreaks have been cropping up throughout Southeast Asia.
The new study, which also noted drug-resistant infections in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, was published this week in the …..

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Your Pets And Their Health: A Vientiane Guide To Preventative Healthcare

Vientiane can be a tropical paradise for your pet. Long swims in the Mekong, sunbathing on the patio and early morning strolls in the park all help to keep our loved pets in good health and mentally stimulated.
It can be a worry to know how best to deal with the myriad risks out there in this tropical paradise. From ticks to fleas, mosquitos to snakes here’s a rundown on what …..

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Raise Money To Help Volunteers Saving Lives In Vientiane: Vientiane Rescue

Anne Barker, ABC correspondent, has documented the amazing story of Vientiane Rescue, a team of locals and expats in Vientiane volonteering their time and effort to save countless lives in this beautiful, but poor country.
Apart from the Vientiane Rescue Team, no medical assistance is available in Laos and police who are often the first to reach the accident scene are not trained in first aid.
The volunteers rely entirely on private donations to keep the emergency service running.
We want to help raise money to help this group purchase the Equipment needed to improve their skills and ability to help others. Read more here how you can help save lives.

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UK Cigarette Firm Criticised Over Laos Tobacco Tax Deal

A British tobacco giant has been accused of depriving taxpayers in Laos, one of Asia’s poorest countries, of tens of millions of pounds, having struck a special tax deal with its government lasting a quarter of a century.
Health campaigners claim the agreement has kept cigarette prices in the country low, which encourages younger people to take up smoking.
But Imperial Tobacco, which accounts for around 90% of all cigarettes sold in Laos, has fiercely defended the deal between ….

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AIMC Clinic Enters Agreement With Thai International Hospital

Alliance International Medical Centre in Vientiane has joined hands with Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand to provide healthcare services for people from Laos.
Under the agreement, patients in Laos including Lao people and foreign expatriates who wish to go for treatment at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok can register through Alliance International Medical Centre.
The Alliance International Medical Centre will facilitate arrangements for patients to receive treatment at Bumrungrad International Hospital including ….

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India, Vietnam, Thailand Named As Destinations Most Likely To Make You Sick

ONE in two Australian travellers get sick on overseas holidays – and India, Vietnam and Thailand are clocking up the highest number of holiday casualties.
Of those struck down by illness, most lost at least two days of their holiday. And many of those wasted sick days could have been avoided, with travellers admitting to being slack when it comes to basic preventive measures.
Tummy troubles like diarrhoea and gastro were the …..

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NA To Consider Law On Alcoholic Beverages

The Law on Alcoholic Beverage Control will be submitted to the National Assembly for consideration at the end of this year, aimed at reducing the rate of drinking related illness in the years to come.
The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with involved government, private and international organisations is drafting the law on alcohol control, which is expected to be presented to the assembly at the end of this year.
According to a survey conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Laos ranks number …..

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Nam Xong River Waste Dumping Has Decreased After Backpacker Parties Shut Down

The amount of garbage in the Nam Xong River has dropped from 70 tonnes to 40 tonnes this year after the government closed down backpacker parties along river in 2012.
But the release of waste water into the river remains a problem as authorities are working hard to keep the river clear and clean enough for swimming and bathing.
Each year a round 70-80 tonnes of rubbish were dumped into the river from tourist parties with both domestic and foreign tourists not properly disposing of food packaging and ….

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How To Create Good Sleep Habits

According to researchers, those who sleep less than seven hours a night are nearly three times more likely to develop a cold than those who get eight or more hours of shuteye. “This study further supports just how important a consistent sleep schedule is to our health,” says Dr Carol Ash, a leading sleep expert and medical director.
“It shows what those of us in the sleep field have been trying to stress for years: Less sleep impairs the immune system and has a direct physiological impact. If you don’t get the right amount of sleep, you increase your risk of not only ….

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Smoking Rate Still High In Laos

The rate of smoking in Laos is still high compared to its population, causing the involved sectors to seek ways to reduce the problem.
A survey conducted recently in Laos found that more than one million people, or 29.4 percent of the adult population aged from 15 years and above, are tobacco users.
The survey also found that about 876,000 people or one third of all 15 year-olds have smoked tobacco. In addition, the rate of smoking among young people of both sexes aged between 13 and15 has increased each time a survey was conducted in ….

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37 People Killed In Road Accidents During Lao New Year

Ministry of Public Security reported yesterday 37 people were killed in road accidents nationwide during the six day celebration of Lao New Year from April 11-16.
The Traffic Police department of the ministry displayed this year’s records to media yesterday highlighting that 303 road accidents occurred nationwide during the period killing over 30 people and resulting in 544 injuries.
The department also reported drink driving and the breaking of traffic rules as the major causes of road accidents. Vientiane recorded the highest number with …

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Samitivej Opens International Children’s Hospital In Bangkok

The Samitivej private hospital group has opened an international children’s hospital in Bangkok to serve up to 1,000 outpatients and 100 inpatients per day.
Samitivej International Children’s Hospital is staffed by specialist paediatricians who cover all aspects of a child’s health. The hospital offers a full spectrum of primary and tertiary care services including paediatric air and ground medical transport to treat medical ….

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Sex Trafficking Victims Go Unnoticed in Laos

Like many girls in Laos, where almost one-third of the population lives below the poverty line, Vahn* was desperate to earn money for her family. This made her a prime target for sex traffickers.
As an uneducated 15-year old, Vahn said she was convinced by her stepsister to work at a farm in central Thailand. But she ended up at a Thai brothel, where she was forced to have sex with a client who paid to take her virginity.
Vahn’s story is not unique. Laos, a landlocked, communist state with one of the worst poverty rates in Southeast Asia, is a prime source for Thailand’s flourishing sex trafficking rings. Around 90 percent of Lao trafficking victims are transported to ….

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More Work On HIV In Laos Needed

Health officials say more work is needed to fight HIV/AIDS in Laos, which has an over-reliance on foreign donors and lack of government support, as well as limited treatment coverage and a widespread gap of awareness and testing.
“Even though HIV prevalence is low in [Laos, at 0.3 percent], we still need to keep efforts up to ensure all people in need of HIV services can access them and that no one is left behind. HIV is a reality in Laos and our progress on …..

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Journey Through Laos: Where Are All the Doctors?

Experts across the world are warning that unless we act now, a billion people will never see a health worker in their entire life. And as is common with global crises, it is the people living in poor countries that will feel it the hardest. Health Poverty Action and other organisations are working to address this crisis, but it is only as I travel through Laos, talking to people who work in health and meeting people who could be one of those billion, that I see what this figure really means.
I’m told that in Attapeu province, where Health Poverty Action works, there is not a single doctor. I look up the ….

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Police Pinpoint Drugs As A Major Social Problem

The heads of provincial police from across the country pinpointed Laos’ drug abuse epidemic as a major social problem at their annual meeting yesterday, coming together in an attempt to address the issue.
“Drugs have become a serious problem in our country adding to the crimes occurring in Laos, so we should find a way to fight against this issue in the near future. This meeting will firstly focus on this social problem in Laos,” Department Director General, Brigadier General Police Sisavath Keomalavong said.
According to the department’s records, there were 1,319 reported drug-related offences committed nationwide in 2013 and police arrested 1,971 people including …..

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Coldest Weather in Years Freezes Laos

The coldest weather in years froze provinces across Laos with northern regions suffering most from the extreme weather conditions.
Two northern provinces of Huapahn and Xieng Khuang, along with newly established central province of Xaysomboun, saw minus temperatures yesterday – the first time this year and for many years.
Xieng Khuang experienced the coldest with minus 2.2 Celsius, followed by Xaysomboun that saw the mercury plunge to minus 2 Celsius, while Samneua district of Huaphanh province recorded …..

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Officials To Crack Down On Illegal Clinics

Health officials have announced a crackdown on medical clinics whose operations continue to contravene regulations amid concerns that the quality of healthcare may be being compromised.
The announcement was made following initial information reported by the Vientiane Health Department (VHD), which suggested there are several clinics employing false advertising to persuade customers to use their services.
In addition, some clinics whose business licenses carry the name of Lao nationals have been seen being operated by foreigners instead, which is against the regulations governing ……

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Malaysia Fattest Country in Southeast Asia

Malaysians, besides being weighed down by obesity and diabetes, according to an Oxfam International report on worldwide food quality, also consumed food of poor nutritional diversity. The just released research by the UK-based poverty and disaster relief group ranked Malaysia 44th out of a list of 125 countries.
Malaysia has also been ranked the fattest country in Southeast Asia and the sixth in the Asia-Pacific Region. In Southeast Asia, Malaysia came in second behind Thailand, which ranked 42nd worldwide. Its neighbours, The Philippines (67th), …….

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Thailand Top Alcohol-Consuming Country In ASEAN, Followed Closely By Laos

According to the latest alcohol consumption data collected by World Health Organization, Thailand is ranked 1st among ASEAN countries in alcohol consumption, followed closely by Laos and the Philippines.
Thailand is the top alcohol-consuming country in ASEAN with 40 percent of drinkers found in North-East region.
The Current Situation and Effect of Alcohol Consumption in Thailand 2013 report conducted by the Center for Alcohol Studies (CAS) has shown that 31.5 percent of Thai people aged 15 years and over, or about 17 million drinkers, consume alcohol regularly…..

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Pharmacies Face Tighter Controls

The Ministry of Health’s Food and Drug Department will amend some of the requirements listed in the food and drug regulations to ensure all pharmacies and retailers selling healthcare products have a qualified pharmacist on their staff.
The details of the new improvements are being prepared and will be disseminated to all pharmacy owners throughout the country as soon as possible.
Director General of the department, Dr Somthavy Changvisommid, told Vientiane Times on Wednesday that these improvements would encourage shop owners to operate their businesses for the benefit of society as well as …..

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Resistance To Malaria Drugs Has Spread In SE Asia

International experts raised the alarm Tuesday over the spread of drug-resistant malaria in several Southeast Asian countries, saying it endangers major global gains in fighting the mosquito-borne disease that kills more than 600,000 people annually.
While the disease wreaks its heaviest toll in Africa, it’s in nations along the Mekong River where the most serious threat to treating it has emerged.
The availability of therapies using the drug artemisinin has helped cut global malaria deaths by a quarter in the past decade. But over the same period, resistance to the drug emerged on Thailand’s borders with …..

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Tough New Booze Laws Imminent

Strict new laws on alcohol consumption, sales and promotion are expected to come into force by 2015 under a new Ministry of Health push to reduce alcohol-related accidents and health issues.
A law on alcohol is currently in the drafting process and will aim to address social issues surrounding drinking and ensure consumers act more responsibly. New regulations would cover the purchase and sale of alcohol including times in which alcohol could be sold, media advertising and public promotion, and underage drinking.
Laos has never had laws in place regarding alcohol consumption, meaning people of any ……

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Anti-Cancer Vaccine For Laos

A programme to vaccinate girls against the virus that causes cervical cancer has begun in Laos, South East Asia.
It’s one of nearly a dozen developing nations where the HPV vaccine is being introduced in the coming year as part of a scheme to enable poorer countries to benefit from the newest vaccines. It is five years since the jab was first offered to girls in the UK.
The project is being organised with the support of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi). The vaccine protects against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus – preventing the infections that cause 70% of cases of cervical cancer…..

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Laos Tops WHO List Of Asean Alcohol Consumption

Laos ranks top out of the 10 Asean countries for alcohol beverage/beer consumption, with an average of 7 litres consumed per person per year, according to a survey conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The survey also found that Lao women drink more alcohol than women in other Indochina countries.
Laos has many ethnic groups and each has its own traditions and culture but alcohol plays an important role throughout Lao society, the survey found.
Unsurprisingly the survey found that the high consumption of alcohol is a frequent cause of ….

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It’s Happy Hour For Heroin Traffickers Of The Golden Triangle

These are boom times in the Golden Triangle, long notorious as Southeast Asia’s drug production capital. For the farmers in the remote hills around the town of Muang Long in northwestern Laos that means only one thing: increased demand for opium, their most profitable crop.
“Prices are going up. At the moment, it’s 10 to 12 million kip (HK$10,000 to HK$12,000) for a kilo. Last year, it was eight to nine million kip,” said Ber Ko, a local man who describes himself as a “transporter of goods”.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) believes China – including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan – now consumes 70 per cent of all the heroin used in the East Asia and Pacific region. Such is the desire for the drug in China that the Golden Triangle can no longer produce enough to satisfy the ……

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Tobacco Use In Laos Declines

Current estimates show that slightly more than one million people, or 29.4 percent of the Lao population aged 15 or older, are tobacco users, indicating a decline on previous years.
The survey found that 876,000 people smoked tobacco products, while another 156,000 used smokeless tobacco in the form of betel nut, smoked tobacco, betel leaf, areca nut and slaked lime.
Tobacco use is more common among ….

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Rate Of New Dengue Fever Patients Increases To 8,000 Per Week: Thailand

The Ministry of Public Health has revealed that the rate of new dengue fever cases has reached 8,000 per week, and that 71 people have already died from the disease this year: coinciding with the severe dengue outbreak situation in Laos.
Lao media are reporting ‘historic’ levels of dengue fever outbreak in the country. Lao officials have disclosed that 4,617 patients, the highest concentration of dengue fever cases, have been found in ……

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Laos Sees High Rate Of Teenage Pregnancy

Laos is suffering from a high rate of teenage pregnancy, with four out of ten women pregnant or already having given birth to their first child by the age of 19, according to a press release from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
In Laos more than 60 percent of the population is under 25 years old, and at least half of this group at girls. The UNFPA press release focused, in particular, on the high prevalence of teenage pregnancy in Laos. A recent survey in the country found that for every thousand adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 in Laos, there are …..

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Dengue Kills 31 So Far This Year

Dengue fever has already killed 31 people in Laos this year out of some 7,920 people who have been infected with the potentially fatal virus.
The number of infected people occurred between January 1 and now, but Laos has still not reached the peak period for dengue infections, which is in September and October.
There are four serotypes of dengue virus, and Laos and its neighbouring countries are currently facing dengue serotype 3, the main cause of the outbreak through the region.
The risk of developing severe dengue fever, also known as dengue haemorrhagic fever is high. This fever can cause severe bleeding, shock (sudden drop in blood pressure) and death. At any one time, all four strains of the dengue virus can be active, although one is …..

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Gearing Up For The Mosquito War

The number of dengue fever cases recorded in Vientiane so far this year is already six times the figure registered for the same period last year. So far, this year more than 3,000 people have been infected with the virus nationwide, resulting in 11 deaths. Of this figure, 634 cases occurred in Vientiane, where six people have died.
With mosquitoes swarming through the Vientiane right now, I decided to increase the power of my mosquito killing arsenal.
The prime weapon of mass mosquito destruction? The ……

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Sexually Transmitted Disease Ranks As Top Issue In Laos

The problem of sexually transmitted infection is rated among the top issues at the Vientiane Youth Centre for Health and Development when it comes to evaluating the increased numbers of people who visit the centre to receive advice and treatment.
The Vientiane Youth Centre for Health and Development is under the direction of the Vientiane Women’s Union and provides suggestions and advice on health issues through its hotline at (021) 252 887 or (020) 22232484. The callers are mainly young people seeking advice on health issues. A female caller can get this from medical staff at the centre via extension 1361 and a male caller can get the same through extension 137.
Working hours are….

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Dengue Cases Grow Six-Fold This Year

The number of dengue fever cases recorded in Vientiane so far this year is already six times the figure registered for the same period last year.
So far, this year more than 3,000 people have been infected with the virus nationwide, resulting in 11 deaths. Of this figure, 634 cases occurred in Vientiane, where six people have died.“I think the infection rate will be higher than it was in 2010 when all hospitals in Vientiane were overwhelmed, if we don’t immediately put measures in place to fight dengue,” Dr Chanthalay said.
There is no specific treatment or vaccine available to prevent death. For this reason, the growth of dengue is expected to have a large impact on public health, economies and society……

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Keeping Yourself Safe When You’re Living Abroad

If you are concerned about your safety because you are in an international hotspot, you might want to think about the best ways to keep yourself from harm. It’s nice to think that most of the people you will meet will be friendly and well-mannered, but unfortunately there are some parts of the world where it doesn’t work this way – and being different (or noticeably foreign) could make you a target for crime.

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Ministry Issues Nationwide Dengue Warning

The Ministry of Health has advised people throughout the country to clear out any potential mosquito breeding sites before the onset of the wet season. The warning comes this week after cases of dengue fever surfaced in some of the southern provinces.
Dengue is one of the fastest emerging infections in the world as it is currently the most rapidly spreading viral disease known. In particular, the Asia Pacific bears 75 percent of the current global dengue disease burden and accounts for more than 70 percent of the estimated 2.5 billion people at risk globally…..

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HIV/AIDS Prevalence Is Highest In Luang Prabang

The Luang Prabang provincial Health Department is campaigning for greater condom use after learning the province has the highest rate of HIV infection in Laos.
The department also promotes condom use at hotels and restaurants to make sure that all guests have access to information about HIV and its prevention.
According to the Centre for HIV/AIDS/STIs, from 1990 to the end of 2011, 4,272 people in Laos tested positive for HIV. Of these, 2,736 people developed AIDS and 1,170 people died from the virus. In Vientiane alone, 1,464 people have tested positive for HIV, with most of them being relatively young….

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Increasing HIV Infection Challenges Gov’t Reduction Target

Between 1990 and June 2012, over 5,260 out of 334,876 people who were given blood check were identified HIV positive and other 3,282 people were living with AIDS.
1,334 people died of the disease during the period adding Vientiane was ranked first as a province with highest number of HIV infected people (1,873 people), followed by Savannakhet 1,793, and Champassack 552.

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Small Companies Left Counting The Cost Of Workplace Absence

Four in ten heads of small companies continue to work from their sick beds, as their business would collapse if they were to take time off.
It seems that employees may also be compounding the problem, as 46% of small and medium-sized enterprise bosses say that high levels of employee absence are estimated to contribute up to a 10% drop in turnover in small businesses.
Yet staggeringly, despite these pressures, 38% of bosses admit that they spend more on office stationery than on initiatives that support employee health and wellbeing, such as flu jabs, cycle to work schemes and subsidised gym membership.
These findings reiterate the impact that ill health can have upon a business…..

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Over 60 % Of Drinking Water Plants In Vientiane Reported Substandard

More than 90 plants producing drinking water in Vientiane are distributing their products to the public despite lacking the necessary certification from the Ministry of Health’s Food and Drug Department.
Health officials are very concerned about substandard drinking water in the capital, fearing that water distributed by substandard factories could affect the health of people both in the short and long term.
Critics say it is important to publish the names of both standard and substandard plants in the media so that ….

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Majority Of Expatriates Risk Life Overseas With No Protection Cover

A recent William Russell customer survey has shown that the majority of expats are taking the risk of not having any life or income protection insurance in place, and in some cases, they even don’t have a health insurance.
The survey was completed by over 650 expatriate policyholders from all parts of the world. Only 32.9% of those questioned had life and/or income protection insurance. On the other hand, when life and income protection insurance clients were questioned about their health insurance arrangements, just under 70% said they had health insurance in place.
The results of the survey suggest that expatriates are far more likely to insure their health than make financial provision for either their untimely death, or the risk of them being unable to work due to an illness or injury.

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HIV/AIDS Cases In Laos Jump To Almost 5,000

Almost 5,000 people in total have tested positive for HIV/AIDS in Laos, according to the National Centre for HIV/AIDS/STIs.
Vientiane reported the highest number of people infected with HIV/AIDS with 1,752, while Savannakhet province followed with 1,719.

In 2011 alone, about 670 people were infected with HIV/AIDS in Laos, 58 more than in 2010, the centre was quoted as reporting.

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What Happens to Plastic Bags in Vientiane?

A 2008 research study by SERCASIA estimated that the 600,000 inhabitants of Vientiane use 20 plastic bags a month each, adding up to 144 million bagsa year. It is also estimated that nearly 95% of users don’t know where theirplastic bags wind up and less than 15% of used bags were recycled. Going beyond the numbers, SERCASIA has produced “From Banana Leaves toPlastic Bags” to focus discussion on how plastic waste impacts the health of individuals and the environment.

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Alliance International Medical Centre

The Alliance International Medical Centre is the newest medical centre in Vientiane. The clinic, located at the brand new Honda Centre on Luang Prabang Rd just before the airport, is part of a venture coordinated between the New Chip Xeng company of Laos and Wattana Hospital Group of Thailand. This alliance has worked out well and the facility, aesthetically speaking, is the height of modernity. Its sleekly designed floors and sparkling clean waiting rooms give a great first impression, as do the well trained staff.

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Termite Trouble

I didn’t hear chewing noises in the night, I wasn’t watching walls disappear before my eyes, but I did have termites eating their way through my house. At first it’s hard to tell, but a number of signs had me convinced. One day I came home and found some small mounds at the bottom of some of my door and window frames. Similar mounds appeared on the bathroom walls. These are called ‘pellet piles’ and they are in fact fecal waste from termites. Nice to know they were leaving me these presents around the house!

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Dog Vs. Snake

As we all know, Laos is home to many rare and unique animals including tigers, black bears, elephants, deer, dolphins, gibbons, giant catfish and crocodiles. Luckily most of these won’t turn up in your backyard.

What I personally wasn’t aware of, however, is that Laos is also home to some of the most dangerous snakes in the world. Coming originally from a “cold” country, I’m still trying to get used to the idea of having to share my garden with venomous cobras and vipers.

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