Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Eye-opening Experiences in Laos (in a good way!)

PROJECT: Nursing – Griffith University
WRITTEN BY: Laura Maskell

After a nice relaxing weekend at Luang Prabang, Group A was ready to conquer week two back in Pak Keng village. Once we arrived in the village we were reunited with our original home stay families.

This week, Group A experienced four eye–opening days of clinic. This allowed us to see multiple medical cases, some of which were culturally unique to Laos and some that are also seen within Australia. As we were approaching winter, the group saw many cases of the flu and bronchitis along with multiple cases of reflux as a result of eating large portions of spicy foods.

This week, Group A also saw a middle-aged schoolteacher who came into the clinic with chest pain and difficultly breathing. Auscultation and assessment revealed consolidation of left lower lobe. Upon discussion the group decided to send the man to Luang Prabang hospital the following Monday. After a few days the man returned home and said that he was feeling much better, and that he was grateful for our service.

Next, a young mother who had a baby boy earlier that week came in. Quickly, doctors discovered that the baby was struggling to feed properly was becoming rapidly malnourished. After a few days of monitoring the group also agreed to send him to the Luang Prabang hospital. They reported that the baby was thiamine deficient, and after an intramuscular injection he was able to feed normally, beginning to make a full recovery.

Overall the clinics were absolutely eye opening allowing the group to understand the unique culture of Laos. This week gave the group a deeper appreciation to how these people live and a better understanding to primary healthcare.

After a long week of clinics the group was excited to do cultural activities within the Pak Keng village such as cooking, weaving and rafting before returning to Luang Prabang for some hard-earned relaxation.

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