Health Worker Spotlight: Helping Patients Rediscover Their Voice

Nurse Vieng
Nurse Vieng shows the assessment form that she and her team developed for patients after she returned from the training at KKU in Thailand. Photo credit: Phon/World Education Lao
Nurse Vieng with patients
Nurse Vieng checks her patient’s condition after cleft lip surgery. Dr. Assist. Prof. Kalyanee Makarabhirom, Dean of Faculty of Medicine, Ramathipbodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok provides support and advice as part of the speech therapy monitoring and refresher training organized by KKU in February 2017. The trainers returned to Laos with the support of World Education’s TEAM project to see the application of new skills and knowledge in the trainees in their own hospitals.Photo credit: Phon/World Education Lao

A one-month training in speech therapy, supported by the World Education Laos, USAID-funded Center for Medical Rehabilitation (CMR)-TEAM project, was held at Khon Khaen Univeristy (KKU) in Thailand. Vieng Xaiyasin, a nurse from Mahosot Hospital attended the training, which has been invaluable to her skills development. Since returning, Ms. Vieng has implemented her new skills and knowledge in her work.

The World Education’s TEAM project increases synergies and coordination in the disability and rehabilitation sector in Laos. World Education strives to link and develop connections between TEAM sub-recipients’ work and projects for the mutual benefit of the partners and the sector as a whole. In Vieng’s case, she was able to advise Catholic Relief Services (CRS), also one of the TEAM project’s sub-recipients, after CRS supported eight people to undergo cleft palate surgeries in Mahosot Hospital. Ms. Vieng applied her knowledge and skills and used materials she designed after the CMR-KKU speech therapy training to help the CRS cleft lip and palate surgery patients improve their speech.

“The children need to practice speaking more after the surgery. It is quite challenging, because most of the clients return to their home town in rural provinces after the surgery, so it is difficult for them to improve their speech,” Ms. Vieng pointed out. “However, I encourage them to keep in touch with the nurses by phone, and if they have a chance to return to Vientiane, we can provide them with continued suggestions and monitoring. For now, we tried our best to give the clients useful information before and during the surgery.”

Since the training, Vieng has been actively working in the Mahosot Hospital to assist and advise patients, especially those with speech problems. She received refresher training and follow up monitoring by the lecturers from Thailand, and continues to use them as sources of inspiration and knowledge when she has a difficult case or needs advice and support.

APC grantee,World Education, implements the TEAM Laos project with the goal of enabling people with disabilities (PwDs), especially women and girls to attain and maintain maximum independence to fully and equally participate in all aspects of life. The project combines World Education’s successful experience in assisting Lao unexploded ordnance (UXO) survivors and people with disabilities with its understanding of how to manage sub-grants, and how to build the capacity of local organizations that are working towards the common goal of assisting people with disabilities.