April 4, 2011
(KPL) For the last few years, a group of surgeons and supporting staff from an Australian volunteer organization Interplast have performed life changing surgery for Lao patients who have been burnt severely by accidental fires or disfigured by unfortunate diseases.
The team cooperates closely with doctors and nurses at Mahosot Hospital. Annually, staff at Mahosot spread the word of the Interplast’s arrival in town and ask people from remote and isolated areas to come to Vientiane for treatment.
But these people are very poor and often must travel long distances away from families and other support groups. This is where the Women’s International Group (WIG) comes in to help.
WIG uses the funds raised at WIG’s annual Ball and Bazaar to provide a daily food allowance for patients and to cover transport costs for the patients to and from Vientiane.
During their work at Mahosot for the past few years, the Australian surgeons have also trained the Lao surgeons to perform the same kind of surgeries. The trained Lao teams, supported financially by the Australian Interplast teams, have been traveling to other provinces, like Houaphanh, Savannakhet, Sayabouly and Louang Namtha.
In these ‘outreached programs’, WIG has also helped in providing patients with food and transportation allowance.
This year, from March 20 to April 1, an eight-member Interplast Australia and New Zealand team came to treat patients at Mahosot Hospital. They treated seventy-six patients last year.
This year the number of treated patients increased and ninety-four patients came. Among them, sixty-five patients were operated within 10 days.
A special event for this year is that Dr. David Inglis, President of Interplast Australia and New Zealand organization, visited Lao PDR for the first time, traveling with the team. In early March, before the Interplast team arrived in Vientiane, the Lao team had conducted an outreach programme in Phongsaly province.
Mrs. Hisae Sakamaki, WIG’s chairperson for medical assistance programme, went with the team to provide WIG support work to the outreach programme.