01/09/2023, 15.39
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First kidney transplant performed in Laos

Help from Vietnam made the operation possible, involving two recipients and two donors. According to the 103 Lao Military Hospital, at least a thousand patients suffer from kidney failure. In Laos only six dialysis sessions are covered by the National Health Insurance.

Vientiane (AsiaNews) – Thanks to help from Vietnam, the 103 Lao Military Hospital saw the first two kidney transplants in the country.

At a press conference held today, Colonel Dr Savangxay Darasart, director of the military hospital, said that the two patients, operated on 31 December, had fully recovered from the operation.

The living donor operation was possible thanks to the assistance of eight Vietnamese doctors, who helped the Laotian medical team select the two pairs of donors and recipients.

Laos is one of the few countries in South-East Asia where kidney transplants could not be performed until recently,

In September last year, the Australian government provided the South-East Asian country, which has been ruled by the Communist Party since 1975, with four dialysis machines worth one billion kips (US ,000).

The 103 Lao Military Hospital estimates that more than a thousand people suffer from kidney failure across the country and need regular dialysis.

Overall, more than 30,000 people die in Laos each year from non-communicable diseases, diabetes being one of the most common. According to the World Health Organisation ((WHO), about half of these deaths are preventable.

Under Laos’s National Health Insurance, patients are entitled to six free dialysis sessions over the course of their life; subsequent sessions must be fully paid out of pocket. A single dialysis session costs to . The average salary in Laos is US$ 223.

According to studies by the Ministry of Health, the number of people with kidney failure is rising; many of them travel to Vietnam, which has 21 transplant centres, for the operation.

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