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Healthcare in Need of Further Improvement, Hospital Director Admits

Source: Vientiane Times

Laos has been successful in improving healthcare in recent years, but there are still challenges ahead and lessons to be learned in making further improvements.

This was the message from the Director General of Setthathirath Hospital, Dr Vangnakhone Dittaphong, when speaking at a ceremony to present medals and certificates of honour in recognition of staff’s efforts from 2016-2020 with regard to enhanced patriotism and personal development.

“We plan to upgrade our emergency room services, out-of-hours examinations, and other areas of service that have the potential for expansion,” Dr Vangnakhone said.

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“However, it is difficult to make comparisons with treatment standards in previous years because patient complaints about admissions and quality of services vary greatly,” he added.

The hospital is aiming to fulfil improved service criteria in relation to patient admissions, cleanliness and hygiene, diagnosis, equal access to treatment, and overall quality of health services.

“So far, we have been successful in fulfilling only two of these criteria – patient admissions and cleanliness and hygiene,” the director said. 

Full implementation of these criteria would ensure patients received good quality treatment on an equal basis, thereby contributing to socio-economic development, he added.

He highlighted the successful efforts of health officials and medical staff, working with development partners, to improve healthcare and the capacity building and training of staff, including midwives and those working in other specialist fields, with the aim of fulfilling the five criteria relating to service standards, in addition to patient satisfaction.  

Setthathirath Hospital is continuing to develop the capacity of its staff with regard to technical medicine and related fields, in order to further improve the quality of its health services.

The hospital is undertaking extensive human resource development while continuing to strengthen healthcare facilities and improve services through higher-quality treatment and technical innovations.

For several years, the hospital has been in discussions with the University of Health Sciences, a hospital in Thailand, and a Japanese university regarding the use of medical equipment and improving the capabilities of its medical staff.

A senior official from the Ministry of Health said the ministry is continuing capacity building for doctors and nurses at central, provincial, and district-level hospitals as well as at dispensaries in local communities.

Health officials and medical staff across the country are engaged in long-term attempts to improve health services with the assistance of development partners.
Staff at district hospitals can perform minor surgery and are able to ensure patient safety and adequate quality of care as part of efforts to reduce the mortality rate of mothers and children, the ministry official added.