Traditional medicine hospital planned for Vientiane
The government is planning to build a traditional medicine hospital in Vientiane next year, aiming to develop the country's natural and human resources in this field, according to a leading official.
The government has confirmed it will carry out the project with funding sourced from development partners and its own budget, Deputy Director of the Institute of Traditional Medicine under the Ministry of Health, Dr Kosonh Sosoulithanh, said.
The initiative is part of the five-year health sector development plan for 2016-2020 on the promotion, use and preservation of natural medicinal resources.
Dr Kosonh explained the importance of the hospital in improving healthcare through the use of medicinal plants.
The hospital will also play an important role in teaching medical staff the correct treatment methods using natural remedies.
He said Laos had a long history in the use of traditional medicine, with herbal and other compounds and extracts having been used to treat a variety of diseases and ailments. But these methods were not always recorded so have been lost over time.
Most Asean countries have seen human resource development success in this sector, including Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar, which have centres for the study of traditional medicine.
“We have encouraged both the public and private sectors to contribute to the development of medicinal plant extracts and the traditional medicine sector,” Dr Kosonh said.
The promotion of traditional medicines and plant compounds is useful for people living in rural areas and provides them with a cheap source of treatment. Laos is rich in naturally occurring medicines found in its forests, he added.
The government's policy is to promote the integration of modern medicine and traditional medicine at primary healthcare facilities in local communities.
Its goal is to broaden knowledge and capacity in this field nationwide, Dr Kosonh said.
According to the Institute of Traditional Medicine, there are now pharmacy and traditional medicine divisions under the provincial health departments in the provinces of Luang Prabang, Xayaboury, Champassak, Oudomxay and Savannakhet, while similar facilities exist at Mahosot and Mittaphab hospitals in Vientiane.
There are also over 40 traditional medicine schools run by the institute and more than 1,300 traditional medicine practitioners in local communities nationwide.
By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update February 1, 2017)