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Japan-funded emergency department opens at Setthathirath Hospital
A new Japan-aided Outpatient/Emergency department at Setthathirath Hospital in Vientiane has opened to improve screening and the treatment of infectious and non-communicable lifestyle diseases.
This comprehensive new building is the largest of its kind with the most advanced medical facilities among Vientiane hospitals.
The building has been funded through the Grant Aid Project for the Improvement of Setthathirath Hospital and Champassak Provincial Hospital.
Speaking at the handover ceremony on Wednesday, Deputy Minister of Health Dr Snong Thongsana said the Japanese government’s assistance aimed to improve health services in Laos to ensure that all members of society had access to comprehensive, fair and good quality healthcare services.
The new facility would improve the quality of healthcare and strengthen health systems to achieve Universal Health Coverage in Laos, he added.
“Our government will continue to invest in health through our universal public health policy with a focus on disease prevention and health promotion. It will also contribute to strengthening human resources in healthcare by improving the training environment for students, nurses and doctors.”
Setthathirath Hospital opened in 2001 with a 250-bed capacity, funded by the Japanese government.  This year marks the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Laos and Japan.
 “JICA is honoured to support the improvements and renovations to Setthathirath Hospital and Champassak Provincial Hospital,” JICA Laos Office Chief Representative Mr Toshio Nagase told the opening ceremony.
Taxpayers in Japan have donated about 2 billion yen, or about 180 billion kip, to complete this project, which is equivalent to 25,000 kip per person in Laos.
“So, now it is your turn,” Mr Nagase said. “I would like you all to work together to help maintain these hospitals in top condition, by everyone contributing to maintain this facility.”
Funded by grant aid of about 180 billion kip (US$18 million or 2 billion yen), the newly-constructed Outpatient/Emergency Room Building at Setthathirath Hospital and the provision of medical equipment to Setthathirath Hospital and Champassak Provincial Hospital will enable more Lao people to access the health services they need, a press release from JICA stated.
The emergency room at Setthathirath Hospital has isolation rooms that can be accessed directly from the outside and have similar specifications to those in Japan. These facilities mean it is possible to take proper and standardised infection control measures.
With the introduction of CT and digital diagnostic equipment, hospitals can also diagnose respiratory diseases more accurately.
Cancer and lifestyle-related diseases have become a significant problem in Laos in recent years. The introduction of diagnostic equipment for mammography and CT scans will enable the early diagnosis of cancers, including breast cancer.

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
 (Latest Update October 28, 2021)

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