Australian Embassy
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Km 4, Thadeua Road, Watnak (P.O. Box 292)

Australian support makes dialysis accessible for thousands in Lao PDR

Closer to Home: Australian support makes dialysis accessible for thousands in Lao PDR

"It was difficult for patients to travel for [dialysis] treatment, especially due to the costs involved. Patients had to go to Vientiane, Khammouan province, other provinces, and even overseas,” says Dr. Sonephet Keoindavong, a specialist at Bolikhamxay Provincial Hospital, as he recalls the limited access to dialysis for his community.

“I chose to become a doctor because I am passionate about medicine. It allows me to help my family members and communities when they're sick, treat patients, and restore their health.”

Fortunately, an Australian Government-supported donation of nine life-saving dialysis machines is better enabling Dr. Keoindavong to achieve his aims, and supporting thousands of patients with an improved quality of life in Bokeo, Xayabouly, Bolikhamxay, Khammouan, Salavan, Champasak and Xekong provincial hospitals.
With the Australian Government donation and other new machines, Bolikhamxay Provincial Hospital has increased the number of dialysis cycles from 1,684 in 2022 to more 2,500 in 2023 – a 48% increase.

The impact to such vital treatment has been life changing.

Somchit, a 67-year-old resident of Mixay Village in Paksan District, has been directly benefiting. She no longer endures a lengthy journey to a distant hospital for bi-weekly dialysis treatments. 

Like many others in her community, Somchit now has the convenience of receiving care within her area, saving both time and money.

Procured by WHO, the machines are helping those suffering from kidney disease by improving treatment accessibility, helping over 10,000 additional people – like Somchit – annually.

They also ensure patients with COVID-19 or other infectious diseases can be treated separately, reducing the risk to other vulnerable patients.

At the time of the handover, Minister of Health HE Dr Bounfeng Phoummalaysith said: “A strong health system means better services, a better quality of care and better outcomes for our patients. Any and all progress towards this means lives saved and health protected.”

“My thanks go to the Australian Government for this important donation to our provincial hospitals, protecting both those with kidney disease, and other patients who will benefit significantly.”

This donation formed part of almost US$ 2 million of support from the Australian Government to WHO Lao PDR to address COVID-19 prevention, treatment and vaccination, and other health issues, across the country.