“Vaccination as the most cost-efficient method to save millions of lives around the world.”
To kick-start the 2nd day’s activities for World Vaccine Congress Asia 2014, we have the privilege and honour in having Dr Bounkong Syhavong, the Vice Minister of Health for Lao People’s Democratic Republic to present on the forging of partnerships for improved immunisation in Laos.
For the Laos government, vaccination is recognised as the core and most cost-effective public heath intervention funded by the government to save live.There is high marginal and infant mortality in Laos by diseases that can be prevented by vaccination. The major diseases plaguing Laos are infectious diseases such as dengue and malaria. Currently, vaccines that have been developed in Laos include ambivalent, seasonal, pneumococcal, measles, rubella and HIV. However, Laos still recognises its weak health system due to reasons such as vaccines in rural areas being unstable, low confidence and attitude to vaccination by the public and high costs of vaccines.
Thus, the Laos government is looking forward to learning from other countries and organisations’ expertise and call on international organisations and industries to make vaccines more affordable and increase investment of new developed vaccines. In the future, they hope to develop rotavirus vaccines.
Responding to a question on malaria in Laos, Dr Syhavong mentioned that malaria has reduced very much over the last six to seven years. However, there is still concern with the high occurrence of malaria in the five provinces of the Southern Laos. There are program for workers in the forest to combat malaria. However, there are still approximately 40 cases of Vivex malaria in northern part of Laos. In addition, in 2011 and 2012, there were unprecedented HFMD cases in Vietnam, and had moved to Cambodia in 2013. Apart from malaria, there have been diarrheas and dengue (lost 95 patients due to dengue fever) and in the north part Japanese Encephalitis.