Access to traditional healthcare for the poor

by Social and Economic Developers Association (SEDA)

SEDA has received a $1000 US dollar grant from the Australian Embassy in Vientiane, Lao P.D..R. for expanding two units at the Patient's Residence Housing at the Rehabilitation Treatment Center (RTC). Unfortunately, the total cost to build two units has risen to $2000, as the cost of raw material has increased, the weak US dollar, increased labor costs, and the price of energy and food. Three years ago,$1000 US dollars would have purchased new wood, metal sheets, and other building supplies. Therefore, the RTC has to raise another $1000 to be able to complete the Residence Housing. RTC has raised some funds from patients who visited the center. SEDA can only support RTC with administration, raising awareness, and transportation.

The two unit expansion will include four beds for patients. These two units will provide much needed space as RTC is already short on beds. There is a high demand for the services the RTC offers as it is the only health centre in the area that offers traditional medicine.

One RTC patient that had been to other western medical hospitals and not had a successful diagnoses of her illness. Former patients of the RTC recommended she visit the centre. She will be one of the first new patients to stay at the new patient housing. Even though the construction is not complete the RTC Director wants to help her as soon as possible.

Each day, patients are traveling to the RTC from all over Laos. Unfortunately, the RTC doesn’t always have enough space to meet demand because of lack of space and funds. Each day 50 -100 patients visit the RTC. About 10% need lodging as they are traveling from a long distance. The completion of these two units will help many patients access the services the RTC offers.

To learn more, please visit: or email: Or visit our partner site to help support the RTC :

SEDA-Rehabilitation Treatment Center (RTC) Builds Bio-Gas Station

May 30, 2008 Report by Ms. Souly QuachAngkham Edited by Rebecca Carnevale

The Direct Aid Program (DAP) at the Australian Embassy has awarded funds to SEDA to build a 10 cubic meter bio-gas station to convert cow manure to bio-gas. The funds awarded were $1750 for purchasing the supplies and material needed to build the bio-gas station for the RTC. SEDA received additional funding from a private donor to cover labour costs. SEDA coordinates with local NGOs and BPP Professional Education to offer training to SEDA staff. The SNV organization, based in the Netherlands, has contributed this project. Today, BPP is certifying expert, who will be joining the SEDA team.

SEDA and partners will be the first organization in Laos to set up a bio-gas station to convert bio-energy to a generator. The RTC will be able to use the energy to run a refrigerator to store medicine, help maintain a clean environment, to provide services outside of daylight hours and provide power to the kitchen and the herbal steam sauna. Around June, the RTC will be able to use the bio-gas from cow manure and the extracts will be used as compost for the garden, etc. The costs are low compared to gas and time is saved as no one has to travel to the city each day to buy gas. SEDA wishes to thank the Australian Embassy for funding this project and helping to reduce poverty in the rural areas.

Deu and Fang
Deu and Fang

A recent visit to the Rehabilitation Treatment Center proved the RTC is as famous throughout Laos as ever. The center, which can hold 10-15 long-term patients at a time not to mention the 100 or so quick consultation patients that pass through every day, was full to capacity and operating with the most basic facilities.

The Master, his wife and a few local helpers comprise the staff at the RTC. There are no nurses, cooks or cleaners. Patients come with a variety of illness – some of them terminal. Often the patient has sought western medical assistance to no avail and this is their last option. For others, it is all they can afford.

The Master will see each long-term patient three times a day. He will check their blood, heart and progress. The patient will usually be on a special diet, be taking herbs and having physical therapy or sauna. Day patients filter through from 7am until the evening. Most come on trucks, in mini vans, and some even by boat, with a collection of people from their village to keep travel costs low. They will que in the main hut and wait to see the Master. Once he has diagnosed their problem they can buy the relevant herbs for as little as 50 cents a bag (5000 kip). If they can afford to pay more they will, as a donation to the RTC.

Long-term patients leave their jobs and families and travel from the furthers corners of Laos to seek treatment at the RTC. Often a family member will travel with them and stay to care for the patient. Each resident must cook for themselves based on the diet issued by the Master. Some must stay here for months but they do not need to pay until they are well, back home in their village and earning an income. The Master's main focus is providing access to health care for the poor and not generating an income for himself.

One the day we visited there were six long-term patients. Here are five of their stories:

Deu is 22 years old. She came to the RTC 3 weeks ago with a parasitic worm in her belly, causing severe bloating. She also has Hepatitis A and her liver, heart and kidney are weak. Since she has been at the RTC, Deu says she feels much better. The worm has gone and the Master is now concentrating on her organs, one at a time. He cannot tell how long she will need to stay here before she is well enough to return home. She comes from Savanahket in the south of Laos.

Fang is from Luang Nam Tha in the far north of Laos. She has suffered from rheumatism for 7 years and finds it difficult to walk. Commonly, after giving birth, women in Laos do not have access to the correct vitamins and food to make them strong again. As a result, their body crashes and rheumatism can set in. Fang is on a special diet of vegetables and she says she is already finding it easier to move.

Khon is 40 years old and has been suffering from severe pancreatic problems and allergies for almost a year. She has tried conventional doctors with no success. She has three children at home in her village in Xieng Kuang province. The area when she is from was bombed with chemicals during the war and it is highly possible the contaminated soil has caused her illness. Khon left her job and family to come here. The bus took 12 hours and cost US$25. It will cost her 50 cents a day to stay at the RTC not including food.

Grandpa Thong is 65 years old and has lost his ability to speak due to a thyroid problem. His wife, Bouan Song, is 60 and has Type 2 diabetes. Both are from Xieng Kuang province and have been at the RTC for over 3 weeks. The Master is using a special diet and herb treatment to lower Bouan Song's blood sugar level. Some of Thong's speech has also returned due to a herbal treatment. Both need to have many more weeks of treatment.

The access road to RTC is an 8km dirt track. In the wet season it becomes muddy and hard to pass. The center has no water treatment equipment and must boil all their water before drinking. They have no electricity, just a generator, and many of the buildings need repairs. The patients have one basic bucket bathroom between them, and an open kitchen to cook in. During the wet season the roof leaves. The RTC is also lacking in mossie nets, blankets and staff.

Funds raised for the RTC will go towards grading the access road, repairing the roof, buying simple water purification systems, solar panels and new basic requirements for the center, such as blankets, pillows and nets. The Master would also like to hire local staff to help with cleaning and caring for the patients.

Grandpa Thong and Grandma Bouan Song
Grandpa Thong and Grandma Bouan Song
Some day patients even arrive by boat from across the lake
Some day patients even arrive by boat from across the lake

The Rehabilitation Treatment Center is getting more patients coming from all over Laos. As it is very high season during fall/winter. It been such a great supports to many visitors and patients. Then private company began to contact with order for more mixing herb tea and vitamins to help with raising awareness about our Rehabilitation Treatment Center. Thanks to all of the supporters and donors to help these cause in the rural of Lao P.D.R.


About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Social and Economic Developers Association (SEDA)

Location: Vientiane - Afghanistan
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Souly QuachAngkham
Vientiane Capital, Vientiane Province Lao People's Democratic Republic

Funded Project!

Thanks to 5 donors like you, a total of $230 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Find another project in Lao People's Democratic Republic or in Health that needs your help.
Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.