The Suzanne’s Fund at Planned Parenthood Great Northwest joined with the Seattle based non-profit Health Leadership International to address the pressing need for medical training in primary healthcare, medical leadership and hospital management, and women’s health issues. Dr. Cam McIntyre MD, the Medical Director of PPGNW, leads the medical team that provides continuing medical education courses to rural Laotian medical assistants, as well as provincial doctors and nurses in Lao PDR.
Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) is one of the least developed and lowest income countries in Southeast Asia. Today, 80% of Lao PDR is rural where there is little access to government services, including healthcare. Lao PDR was a victim of heavy bombing during the Vietnam War and has the sad legacy of the most unexploded ordinance per capita in the world. This small nation, with a single party communist government system, has been closed to outside influence until the early 1990’s when foreign relationships changed following the collapse of the Soviet Union. PPGNW is pleased to join with Health Leadership International to create a new legacy of peace and health in Lao by building capacity in primary healthcare training, particularly reproductive health education.
Project Update from the November 2011 Training
Through support from Suzanne’s fund a Seattle team traveled to Lao PDR for three weeks In November 2011 to provide medical training in low resource areas of the Lao PDR. HLI Seattle has a five year memorandum of understanding with the Lao Ministry of Health that allows them to provide medical training in all the provinces in Lao PDR. A team of thirteen Seattle medical volunteers with 12 Lao medical co-trainers trained 94 health professionals in two remote provinces, Xieng Khouang and Saravan and 30 physician interns at University of Health Sciences in Vientiane. During the course of the three week training program, doctors, medical assistants and nurses were offered 16 different courses on topics ranging from early pregnancy loss and ultrasound to general reproductive care.
HLI Seattle also provided a four day Leadership and Management training to hospital administrators in Xieng Khouang, and Chris Charbonneau, CEO at PPGNW helped teach the leadership modules. This project not only allows medical professionals in Lao to learn management and training skills, it allows PPGNW staff to get experience providing training in developing countries and to bring those experiences and insights back to their work in the US.
"Where Women have No Doctors" - 2008 / 09 Training
PPGNW supported printing of the Lao Translation of ‘Where Women have No Doctor’ in 2008 and 2009. This book, given to every trainee, has been used to define the curriculum for the training program in subjects such as reproductive healthcare, history and physical exam, and obstetrical care. Each year a team of health care providers and educators travels to Lao PDR to train village health workers, nurses, and doctors in reproductive health, emergency medicine, infectious disease, basic ultrasound and other topics as requested by the Ministry of Health and Lao medical leaders.
Health Leadership International and Lao faculty conduct the training using the translated materials. When appropriate the faculty will use computer-based internet assisted teaching techniques and Lao technical health training films to facilitate competency-based teaching.
As a result of this support from PPGNW, many village health workers have more up to date information on reproductive health and other important health topics, and they also have a Lao textbook, which for many of them is the first comprehensive medical text they have owned. This translation is intended to be used as a reference and will enable health workers to educate, screen, diagnose, and treat patients more effectively. In 2010 and 2011 some of these remote villages will be visited to evaluate health workers’ needs and the effectiveness of the translated textbook while the training team is in Lao PDR conducting other educational activities.