Source: Vientiane Times
Construction of buildings to house the new Mahosot Hospital in Vientiane started on Friday to replace the existing century-old facility as part of efforts to overhaul the country’s health services.
A ceremony to officially commence construction was attended by Deputy Health Minister, Associate Prof Dr Phouthone Muongpak, Chinese Ambassador to Laos, Mr Jiang Zaidong, President of Beijing Uni-Construction Group, Mr Wang Bao Shen along with senior officials from the ministry and invited guests.
The new hospital, which will have 600 beds and a rooftop helicopter pad, will be built on the existing Mahosot Hospital site in Sisattanak district. Many of the existing facilities are being demolished to make way for the new facility.
The new hospital is being built, equipped and financed through a grant from China worth more than 751.6 billion kip (more than 600 million yuan) with completion slated for 2020.
The project previously had a ground-breaking ceremony in 2017 between President Bounnhang Vorachit and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during his official visit to Laos.
The project comprises five buildings: a nine-storey building to accommodate patients, a five-storey and two four-storey buildings that will house medical departments and a 400-seat conference room.
Speaking at the ceremony to start construction, Mr Wang Bao Shen said that when the new hospital was operational it would be the largest in Laos, have the most modern medical equipment in the country and improve the quality of healthcare provided. Deputy Health Minister, Associate Prof Dr Phouthone Muongpak said the hospital would accelerate the government’s efforts to raise Laos above least developed country status by 2020.
He highly valued China’s generous assistance, saying the Party and government of China had given the Lao people an excellent gift. The minister promised that Laos would make the most effective use of the hospital.
Director General of Mahosot Hospital, Dr Phisith Phoutsavath said the Chinese assistance comprised three components: construction of the hospital, the provision of modern medical equipment, and technical training for Lao medical staff in the use of the new equipment.
“Once construction is complete and the new building is handed over, the Chinese side will send experts to help train Lao medical personnel,” he said.
He explained the new facility was being built on 31,000 square metres covering over 60 percent of Mahosot’s total land area of around 50,000 m2.
Mahosot Hospital was built in 1903 and previously had 450 beds. The hospital’s two main buildings, which were built during French colonial rule, will not be demolished. Other facilities are being prepared to provide regular healthcare services while the new hospital is being built, he said.
Dr Phisith noted the hospital has the potential to increase its capacity to 1,000 beds in the future, citing an estimate provided by Chinese experts.