Nalea District Hospital is located in Louangnamtha province, northern Laos. This 16-bed facility sits in a remote mountainous area, far from the provincial hospital. With no local blood collection or storage capabilities it has been extremely difficult to meet the emergency blood needs of critically ill patients, particularly in the rainy season when roads become impassable. By purchasing $20,000 of equipment including refrigerators and a centrifuge and supporting local training, Global Blood Fund (GBF) is establishing the district's first and only blood bank, serving a local population of over 25,000.
Back in 2015, GBF liaised with the Armed Services Blood Program to identify areas of need in countries supported by the US Military. They highlighted Laos as requiring financial and technical assistance and so we worked with the Laos Red Cross/National Blood Transfusion Committee to identify an inaugural project.
In common with many poorly-resourced countries, population centers are reasonably well-served but rural areas - called districts in Laos - rely on sourcing blood from larger provincial hospitals. This can work satisfactorily for routine transfusion needs but not for emergencies and not in the wet season when roads become impassable and blood deliveries impossible. What is needed is local collection, testing, storage and cross-matching facilities.
Having agreed a focus on Nalea district in northern Laos for initial support, GBF worked with NBTC procurement to purchase all the equipment needed (fridges, centrifuge etc). Now equipped, GBF-funded training is scheduled to take place in February 2017 with the blood bank fully operational at this point. Laos has many other district hospitals in need of similar assistance, wanting to establish their own rural blood banks to better serve their local communities. Global Blood Fund is discussing with the authorities there how GBF can support further development
Training and installation of the facility is expected to be completed on February 13, 2017. Learn more about Global Blood Fund.