Free surgery transforming lives in Xieng Khouang

Introduction: A medical team led by doctors from Interplast Australia and New Zealand, funded by Phu Bia Mining and supported by the Women’s International Group has returned to Xieng Khouang province to provide free treatment to those with conditions such as burn scar contractures, cleft lip or cleft palate.

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Story: The team – making their third visit to the province in as many years – includes plastic and reconstructive surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses from Interplast, who work alongside and train staff from Mahosot hospital in Vientiane.

The Australian members of the team volunteer their time, while the other costs of the program are met through funding from Phu Bia Mining, worth in excess of US$150,000 over the last three years.

It is said that, Specialist reconstructive or plastic surgery – which is usually not available in Xieng Khouang – can make a huge difference to people’s lives. Those born with cleft palates may have difficulties eating or speaking, while burn scar contractures can result in restriction of movement around the injured area.

The team arrived in Phonsavan on 31 August, and will stay for two weeks, working at the Lao-Mongolian Friendship Hospital. The Women’s International Group is providing pre- and post-operative assistance to all patients, and financial support to those who have travelled to receive treatment.

Source: Lao National Television News in English
Broadcast on September 30, 2014