By Xayxana Leukai
November 19, 2011
Dr Thongphout Soukhaseum has become the first fully qualified heart specialist in Luang Prabang province after last month receiving a second degree specialising in cardiovascular conditions, equivalent to a doctorate.
Head of the Cardiology Sector at Luang Prabang provincial Hospital, Dr Thongphout said he was delighted to graduate from the programme in Vientiane so that he can return home to serve his community.
Dr Thongphout is one of 10 Lao doctors who hold qualifications in cardiology. In addition to treating people with heart conditions, they will pass on their knowledge and skills to colleagues and students.
“The number of people presenting with acute rheumatic fever and Tetralogy of Fallot (a congenital heart defect) is increasing, including in Luang Prabang,” he said, adding he looks forward to using the expertise he gained while studying and working in Laos, Luxembourg, France and Germany during the three-year programme.
Dr Thongphout said he always reminded himself that his education would benefit not just himself but also his patients, as he underwent more than 10 years of study in Laos and other countries.
From 1979-80, he studied Hungarian at the Hungarian Language Institute and then at the Hungary Language Institute NEI.
In 1985, he graduated with a physician assistant baccalaureate diploma and in 1995 he received a bachelor degree from the University of Medical Sciences of Hungary. He obtained a health management qualification in Hungary in 1997.
From 1999-2002, Dr Thongphout studied at the National University of Laos’ Faculty of Medicine and worked in practice at the Mahosot Hospital cardiology ward. From 2005-06, he trained in interventional cardiology and catheterisation at the First People’s Hospital in Yunnan province, China. He was the first Lao doctor to study in this field.
From May to August 2008, Dr Thongphout undertook practical training in cardiology in France.
Dr Thongphout has also attended regional and international cardiology conferences, including the Asean Congress of Cardiology in the Philippines in 2010, and is an approved Asean cardiology member.
Over the past three years, 10 doctors from Mahosot, Setthathirath, Mittaphab, Savannakhet, Champassak and Luang Prabang hospitals have studied for cardiovascular degrees with teachers from the University of Health Sciences, Sante France Laos (SFL), Aide au Developpement de la Sante Luxembourg (ADS), Health Frontiers, and Khon Kaen University of Thailand. The trainees also studied and worked in Luxembourg, France and Germany.
The SFL, ADS Luxembourg, Health Frontiers, Asian Development Bank and World Health Organisation supported the training programme.
Teachers from the University of Health Sciences are confident that the training course will boost human resources in the health sector, one of the main objectives of the government as it strives to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.