Laos

Promote inclusive eye care, especially in the countryside

Together with our CBM friends from Switzerland, we want to improve the quality of eye care in Laos. We pay particular attention to the access and inclusion (“inclusion”) of visually impaired people, but also people with other disabilities.

© CBM/Cheli

Laos in numbers  

  • Surface
    236,800 km2
  • Population
    7.6 M.
  • GDP per capita (PPP)
    2,630 USD (LU: 72,712 USD)
  • Population (%) under national poverty line
    18.3% (LU: 17.5%)
  • Life expectancy
    66 years (LU: 82.3 y.)
  • Literacy
    84.7% population > 15 years
  • Physicians’ density
    0.37/1,000 inhabitants (LU: 3)
  • Human Development Index
    Rank 137 out of 189 countries

Why this project?

Although the country has made progress in healthcare in recent years, significant gaps remain, particularly in the area of preventable blindness. The last study on avoidable blindness in Laos from 2017 showed, among other things, that only around 54% of the required cataract operations could be carried out. There remains a great deficit in supply, especially in the registration and treatment of people with cataracts. The backlog has not been reduced and the COVID-19 pandemic has further diminished the availability of eye healthcare.

The project must therefore aim to expand eye healthcare: through the training of additional staff, improved registration of affected people and more efficient allocation of resources at both the community and district levels.

What does this project achieve?

In order to achieve this, three goals have been established:

The first goal is to reduce avoidable blindness. To achieve this goal, the training of health workers is promoted.

The second goal is to increase the accessibility of the services, especially for people with disabilities. To support this goal, the barriers to access services are identified and removed.

The third goal is to improve the quality of eye healthcare services. First and foremost, national treatment standards are to be developed and introduced. Furthermore, quality control and higher quality goals are to be targeted over the project period from 2022 to 2024.

© CBM/Cheli

Objectives

These are the concrete goals from 2022 to 2024:

  • 44 specialists from the healthcare system receive ophthalmological training and corresponding scholarships.
  • 6,000 people with cataracts are given the treatment they need.
  • 75 people with other eye diseases are treated surgically.
  • 5 Disability organizations receive support for campaigns to identify treatment needs and ensure accessibility of services.
  • 120 particularly poor and vulnerable patients receive additional support in addition to treatment in order to enable them to access treatment.

Local partners

The project consists of two parts. The national parts are managed and implemented by the Ophthalmological Center of the Ministry of Health (NOC) in the capital, Vientiane. The southern provinces part of the project, in Champasak, Sekong, Sarava and Attepu, is implemented by the provincial hospital in Champasak in cooperation with district hospitals and health centers in the surrounding villages. The project is part of a national program coordinated between the NOC, CBM (southern provinces, center and national level) and two other non-governmental organizations: the Fred Hollow’s Foundation (northern and central provinces) and the Eye Care Foundation (Northeast Province).

Budget

CBM Switzerland is responsible for this project. CBM Luxembourg has supported the project in 2023 with a budget of EUR50,000 (approximately 14% of the Laos budget).  From 2024, in accordance with our financial resources, we aim to continue to support the project with a budget of EUR40,000.

Read more about the project in Laos here