Improving health services in Laos
The Ministry of Health has confirmed that it will continue working to improve healthcare services in Laos, and reduce complaints from members of the public, health officials told the Vientiane People's Council yesterday.
A doctor ( second, left ) attends to a patient at a hospital in Vientiane.
The fact that doctors' nurses and medical staff still cannot provide the standard of medical services expected by members of the public was one of the top issues raised by callers to the National Assembly hotline, health officials acknowledged.
The quality of healthcare provision has a lot to do with the human resources capacities in the health sector and those responsible for service delivery, namely hardworking doctors and nurses, they said.
Director of the Vientiane Health Department under the Ministry of Health, Dr Phonepaseuth Ounaphom told the Assembly during its ongoing meeting on how to improve the health sector that about 90 percent of patients have complained about the level of healthcare services they received.
Dr Phonepaseuth said the healthcare service provided by doctors, nurses and medical staff at the hospitals in Vientiane is still lacking in quality.
Now, the health authorities have a good understanding of the complaints and are working to address some of the problems. This includes the fact that in Laos, doctors, nurses, and medical staff still practice old fashioned ways of working as they have done for many years.
This means they do not take care of the patients as their customers well when they are seeking treatment at local hospitals.
In developed countries, doctors and nurses take care of their patients very well. They provide consultation to patients immediately when they come to hospital, he said.
For several years, the ministry and hospitals in Vientiane have held meetings and workshops to increase understanding among doctors, nurses, and medical staff about the importance of providing quality healthcare services to their patients and dispelling the belief that standards are poor.
“We think that maybe they cannot solve all the problems and cannot respond to the demands of the public because one doctor is working for many hours,” Dr Phonepaseuth said.
He noted that efforts already underway to improve the health service systems for doctors and nurses, in addition to the training and development of quality health officials. Now, all government policies in healthcare have a focus on ensuring that patients are satisfied with their treatment.
Each hospital in Vientiane needs to improve and increase the quality of healthcare services provided to patients, including improving the services offered by doctors and nurses at hospitals and dispensaries at both the central and district levels, according to the ministry policy.
This aims to protect the rights and benefits of members of the public when it comes to the provision of medical treatment and reduce the number of complaints.
The policy also aims to ensure that all ethnicities in society receive good quality treatment on an equal basis in order to promote socio-economic development.
Laos has 144 district hospitals nationwide. The capital Vientiane has nine district hospitals, six central hospitals and 41 dispensaries.
By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update January 12, 2017)