Every step you take can save a young life
Lao Friends Hospital for Children is delighted to announce that the 8th Luang Prabang half-marathon, Run for Children, will take place on October 30, 2022, in Luang Prabang. This is the first time LFHC has been able to organize the event since the pandemic, and it will be fantastic to see over 2000 people running through the cultural center of Laos. This run is beautiful in landscape and spirit and has a palpable sense of community.
The slogan for the race is “Strengthen your heart while keeping theirs beating.” By participating either physically or financially, you will help treat and save the children of Laos. Lao Friends Hospital for Children is the only free children’s hospital in Laos and the only pediatric hospital in the north. It is 100% privately funded. They provide high-quality, compassionate healthcare to over 30,000 children each year. These children often come from northern Laos’ poorest and most remote regions.
LFHC operates on a three-pronged foundation of care, education, and prevention through its twelve departments, including a 42-bed in-patient department, an out-patient department that sees 150 children per day, a state-of-the-art neonatal unit that provides care to babies as small as 700 grams, a dedicated thalassemia (a disorder that requires monthly blood transfusions) clinic that treats 200 children per month, and a brand new High Acuity Unit (HAU) that provides free treatment to the very sickest children in northern Laos. The HAU at Lao Friends Hospital is the only free facility of its kind in the entire country. LFHC is also home to the only free Development Clinic in northern Laos that provides care and treatment to children with developmental delays, autism, and Down syndrome.
The LFHC outreach team traveled over 23,000 kilometers in 2021, visiting 309 patients despite the lockdown severely impacting travel. Outreach ensures that patients who are too sick to travel or can’t afford the journey to LFHC receive the healthcare they need and deserve.
Education is one of the cornerstones of Lao Friends Hospital for Children. There is a strong internal teaching program as well as a growing external training emphasis. The hospital invites hundreds of students from universities and colleges in Luang Prabang and Vientiane to train with the LFHC team. LFHC also conducts training sessions with local health centers to decentralize knowledge from the cities and improve healthcare quality in rural communities. The hospital has just hired a director of prevention to try to research and reduce stunted growth and malnutrition-related maladies in the surrounding rural communities and to implement a program to help reduce the number of cases.
A quote is engraved above the entrance to Lao Friends Hospital for Children. It reads, “treat every child as if they were your own.” These are the words of Japanese photographer Kenro Izu who first had the idea for the hospital when he saw a father lose his 7-year-old daughter because he could not afford the $2 cost of her medicine. The LFHC staff embody this quote daily by providing compassionate healthcare to any child who needs it.
Run for Children is an excellent opportunity to support the work being done at LFHC and be part of a unique community event in Luang Prabang. Every step you take towards the finish line helps LFHC in its goal to save as many children as they possibly can!
Lao Airlines has frequent flights to Luang Prabang from Vientiane and Bangkok.
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Text & PHOTOGRAPHS BY Lao Friends Hospital for Children