University of the Ryukyus Hospital marks 10 years of support activities in Laos

University of the Ryukyus Hospital marks 10 years of support activities in Laos

Nagisa Kinjo, the left in the front row, and Fukunori Kinjo, on the end on the right in the front row, and other staff members of the University Hospital of the Ryukyus, who have provided medical support activities such as skills in digestive endoscopy for ten years in Laos. This photograph was taken at a hospital in Laos in 2011.

December 15, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

This year marks ten years for the University of the Ryukyus Hospital since it began to teach practical guidance and knowledge of digestive endoscopy in Laos in January 2002. Fukunori Kinjo and Nagisa Kinjo, doctors of the Department of Endoscopy, University of the Ryukyus Hospital, have visited Laos and provided support for local medical staff. Thanks to Japanese endoscopic technology, which is said to be the best in the world, the number of check-ups has increased dramatically and medical treatment using endoscopy at local hospitals in Laos has become possible for the likes of gastric ulcers or esophageal varices.

Initially, the University of the Ryukyus Hospital sent a doctor to participate in the hospital improvement project run by JICA at the National Setthathirath Hospital in Vientiane, Laos. After that, for several years, it sent doctors sponsored by the Ryukyu Asia-Pacific Medical Exchange Association. However, after the term of the grant ended, in 2008 and 2011 Nagisa Kinjo and Fukunori Kinjo stayed on for a week to support activities at their own expense. The University of the Ryukyus Hospital has also extended its activities to local hospitals such as Luang Prabang Hospital in Northern Laos.

In the early stages there were complaints from patients because medical staff conducted endoscopic inspections without using sedation or pharyngeal anesthesia. Doctors from the University of the Ryukyus provided advice, including confirmation of procedures, which drugs should be used for patients, how to interpret endoscopic images and how to fill in medical records. Nagisa Kinjo thinks that the support activities have been useful, saying, “The local staff have obtained skills and knowledge on medical services, and their patients are very grateful for this. They are tenacious and ambitious and this makes us want to help.”

On October 20, Koeopasuth Phyvanh, a doctor from Sethathirath Hospital, visited Okinawa. For about one month he learned about the examination and treatment of gastrointestinal endoscopy at University of the Ryukyus Hospital and other hospitals in the prefecture. The support project has evolved into genuine exchange between Okinawa and Laos. They now operate a system of cooperation in which staff at hospitals in Laos send paper images and endoscopic findings to the University of the Ryukyus Hospital for Fukunori and Nagisa Kinjo to check their findings. Fukunori Kinjo said, “Our support activities will come to an end at some stage, but if the local staff in Laos such as doctors and nurses are able to educate their colleagues, they will be able to then make a significant contribution to the level of health check cares in Laos. We want to continue to provide support until they can create an environment in which they are independent in terms of medical care.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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