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MSF in Laos, 2006/2007
Field Staff: 25
Reason for Intervention:
All articles on Laos »
As little as six years ago, some authorities denied there were any people in Laos who had HIV /AID S and those suffering from the disease had no way of accessing anti-retroviral treatment. In an effort to address the unmet need for HIV /AID S care, MSF started a project in Savannakhet, southern Laos, in 2001.
Although anti-retroviral treatment (ART) in Laos is now available, it remains limited to services opened by MSF in two public hospitals: in Savannakhet and at Setthathirat Hospital in the country’s capital, Vientiane. By May 2007, 800 patients were being monitored at these health structures, with 540 of them receiving ART.
Raising the awareness of the authorities and partners to the existence of these patients who require urgent care has been a key element in recognizing the reality of HIV/AIDS in Laos. The inclusion of access to ART in the national strategy for addressing the disease was finally achieved in 2006. In view of this and increased donor support, MSF’s departure is planned for the end of 2008 and the process of handing over to national actors has already begun.
The emphasis has now shifted to helping improve the management capabilities of health service partners and their ability to track orders and supplies of medicines. Partnership with the representatives of organizations for persons living with HIV/AIDS is another area of work inherent to this handover process. MSF is sharing lessons learned from its projects in the country and emphasizes the importance of patients undertaking a monitoring role, ready to identify any problems with the system that may prevent them from receiving proper treatment.
MSF has worked in Laos since 1989.