Lao and Vietnamese health officials discussed bilateral health cooperation during a recent meeting in Vientiane and agreed to expand cooperation in many health-related areas such as disease prevention and treatment, food and drug development, capacity building of health workers, health research, and construction of a health sciences university.
But the health issue both sides consider most urgently in need of immediate increased cooperation is the fight against bird flu which has been plaguing 11 Vienamese provinces bordering Laos.
Laos has banned imports of all poultry and poultry parts from its neighbors, Vietnam, Thailand, and China, in an effort to prevent the spread of the Avian flu from across the borders and to scuttle further outbreaks of the disease in the northern province of Luang Namtha, which since early February has suffered bird flu outbreaks in six villages, the latest one appearing last week in Ban Viengmai in Viengphoukha district.
In addition to cooperation from its neighbors, Lao officials appealed for cooperation from the villagers themselves, saying the fight to prevent further outbreaks is not succeeding because of lack of cooperation from poultry farmers who do not report their birds or hide them to avoid the culling because they are not happy with compensation paid by authorities, which amounts to 60% of market prices.
Listen to our report for more details in Lao.