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National flower in Lao, the Dok Champa is a symbol of sincerity and the beauty of life. Likewise, the Center of Medical Rehabilitation (CMR) in Vientiane, capital city of Lao, is a pillar of pure honesty and compassion, dedicating their efforts and knowledge to promoting the best services for deaf, blind or otherwise disabled people. This week a team at CMR announced they will be incorporating GNU Health to their healthcare center. For the first stage of the project, the hospital will be implementing key modules such as Administration, Patient Registration, Accounting/Finances and Billing. 
Heading this enterprise will be the Director of the Center, Khamphet Manivong, along with Bounmy Sihaphom, Sisouvanh Sangbouaboulom and Anousak Souphavanh,
IT consultants from Calat.

This healthcare facility, formerly known as the National Rehabilitation Center, was established in 1964, comprised of the following departments:

  • Orthopedic workshop
  • Wheelchair workshop
  • Medical Rehabilitation
  • Community-based Rehabilitation
  • Special education for the deaf and the blind
  • Vocational school system for the disabled
However, it was not until March 29th, 1968, that the CMR officially opened its doors, providing physiotherapeutical treatment through an extended service across the country. It was originally the orthopedic workshop where prosthetic limbs for veterans and war victims were produced.

Nowadays, this center is rather renowned for its unique services for the unexploded ordenance (UXO) victims after the Vietnam War. The Hospital manages a total of 100 beds in different buildings and specializes in physical medicine, orthopedic surgery, prosthetic and orthotic fitting, as well as in physiotherapy and special education for blind and/or deaf children. Not only are they committed to the improvement of health conditions, but the center aims at changing the quality of life of every person they can reach. When it comes to their educational programs, this is what the hospital stated: “This is a significant step towards fulfilling the obligations of providing the fundamental rights of all our kids with disabilities to have equal access to mainstream education”.

It’s not over yet: the silent murderers attacking Lao

“The war is simply an obscenity, a depraved act by weak and miserable men, including all of us who have allowed it to go on and on with endless fury and destruction – all of us who would have remained silent had stability and order been secured. It is not pleasant to say such words, but candor permits no less”.



Noam Chomsky, in American Power and the New Mandarins (1969)

More than 30 years after Saigon’s fall, tipping point that ended the Vietnam War in 1975, the government of Lao is still asking the international community to sign a new agreement that forbids the use of cluster bombs.

During the Vietnam War, American airplanes dropped millions of bombs, many of which failed to explode when they hit the ground, but are yet still active today in the jungle. It is a war of the past that keeps murdering generations of the present.

5 things you should know about Lao

  • Capital city: Vientiane
  • Population: 6.5 mio (2012)
  • Government: Marxist-Leninist single-party state.
    • President: Choummaly Sayasone
    • Prime Minister: Thongsing Thammayong
  • Area: 236, 800 km2
  • Currency: Kip (LAK)
  • Official language: Lao


    Laos Regions Map
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    National Anthem of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic: “Pheng Xat Lao”


    1. Lao appoints 4.5% of its GDP to healthcare (2013)–more than Monaco, Saudi Arabia and India, for example. However,  there is one physician every 3000 people and one bed every 1000 people. Interestingly enough, one in every 10.9 jobs belongs to the tourism sector (2010).


    2. During the bellicose period from 1964 to 1973, 260 million bombs fell on Lao, making the country (on a per capita basis) the most heavily bombed civilian population ever. Of these, around 80 million cluster bombs failed to explode, so most villages have unexploded ordnance (UXO) on display salvaged from the forest and rice fields. Alas, thousands of Laotians die every year because of this unwanted war veteran.

    3. The internet domain for Lao is .la; there are 1,532 internet hosts (2012) and 300 thousand internet users. Moreover, there are 5.481 million mobile cellulars (2012) for a 6.5 million population
    4. Most of the basic words of Lao have only one syllable. Multi-syllable words are usually higher level and used in religion, academics or government. They were taken mainly from Sanskrit, the classical language of India, and are often the same as or similar to high-level vocabulary in Thai.
    5. The Mekong River runs like a major artery for the length of the country and its vast network of tributaries allow both locals and visitors to reach the remote interior. The WWF organization affirms that a new species is registered every two days in the Mekong area.


    The Mekong River