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  • Writer's pictureRachel Teoh

U.S. Embassy in Laos marks Type 1 Diabetes Care milestone with A4D collaboration

A4D in Multi-Party Collaboration Revolutionises Type 1 Diabetes Care in Laos

Vientiane, 20 Sept 2023 – Today, at Mahosot Hospital in Vientiane, Laos, Michelle Y. Outlaw the Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy Vientiane in Laos marked a historic occasion: diabetes medicines provided by Eli Lilly and Company, and transported by Direct Relief to Action4Diabetes (A4D), have now arrived at Mahosot Hospital in Vientiane, marking a monumental milestone in the endeavour to provide essential care to young people living with type one diabetes (T1D) in the country.

Mahosot Hospital's commitment to improving T1D care in Laos dates back to 2016 when they partnered with A4D to provide crucial medical supplies, saving the lives of those living with T1D. Dr. Khaysy Rassavong, the Deputy Director of Mahosot Hospital, expressed their appreciation for the collaboration, stating, "We are pleased to be part of this initiative that brings advanced medical care to our patients, many of whom would not have access to these life-saving medical supplies otherwise."

Direct Relief, a U.S. humanitarian relief agency dedicated to the provision of medicines to resource poor communities were entrusted with the task of safeguarding the insulin throughout its journey. The path from Direct Relief's distribution centre in the Netherlands to Laos provided numerous supply chain challenges, but their expertise and knowledge ensured the safe delivery of this vital medication, ultimately reaching Vienthong Pharma's (VTP) state-of-the-art cold storage facility in Vientiane, Laos.

VTP played a pivotal role in securing import permits and expertly navigating customs clearance processes, thus facilitating the timely delivery of these essential medicines. Their commitment to this endeavour extended to the enhancement of their cold storage facilities and the expansion of their cold chain capabilities and infrastructure to align with international standards for impeccable storage and delivery.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of this ground-breaking initiative is the introduction of insulin analogues to Laos. This marks a significant advancement in Type 1 Diabetes care and presents a unique opportunity for doctors in Laos to gain experience in prescribing insulin analogues, contributing to the enrichment of the local medical community's expertise and improved health outcomes.

A4D played an indispensable role in ensuring the success of this pioneering initiative. They initiated an all-encompassing training program for Lao doctors from Mahosot Hospital at Chulalongkorn University’s School of Global Health, Bangkok, as early as March this year, preparing them for the introduction of insulin analogue in Laos.

What initially began as a collaboration between A4D and Lilly to provide insulin access to young people enrolled in A4D's program in Laos has evolved into something far-reaching. Beyond delivering essential care to young people living with T1D in Laos, this collaboration has ignited capacity-building efforts led by VTP. These accomplishments stand as a testament to the transformative power of collaboration and unwavering dedication in advancing healthcare solutions within challenging environments.

Charles Toomey, Co-founder at A4D, expressed his gratitude, stating, "We are extremely thankful for the collective efforts of all parties involved in achieving the progress we've made in improving the lives of young people living with T1D in Laos. This initiative reinforces our belief in the potency of partnerships to achieve what cannot be accomplished alone. Our commitment to closing the gaps in T1D healthcare in South-East Asia remains steadfast, and we anticipate further breakthrough initiatives with our multiple partners in future."

In conclusion, this collaboration serves as a compelling example of the profound impact that global and local partnerships can have on healthcare access and delivery. It offers hope to young people living with T1D in Laos and paves the way for a brighter, healthier future.

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