Clinical training in Lao PDR and Vietnam

Capacity building to improve the diagnosis of asbestos-related diseases

In May 2024, ADDRI sent a specialist team to deliver crucial training in Lao PDR and Vietnam. Supported by The Asbestos and Silica Safety Agency (ASSEA) and Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, the team’s mission was to provide clinical training to local health professionals to improve the diagnosis of asbestos-related diseases and build in-country capacity to manage the ongoing diagnosis of these diseases.

Vientiane, Lao PDR
The three-day, intensive program in Vientiane brought together local health specialists from the city and surrounding provinces. Participants engaged in masterclasses covering radiology, pathology, oncology, and epidemiology. The sessions highlighted the severe impact asbestos has had in Australia, emphasising the urgency of banning all forms of asbestos. Discussions included the legal and financial repercussions of asbestos exposure, the importance of investigating exposure histories, and practical steps to raise public awareness and prevent exposure.

The program also featured visits to the Cancer Center, the Health University, and Mittaphab Hospital in Vientiane. These visits provided participants with a firsthand look at how diseases are diagnosed and treated locally, and offered a platform to discuss the challenges faced by local health experts.

Hanoi, Vietnam
In Hanoi, the three-day training program was hosted by the National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health. The program was opened by the Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Andrew Goledzinowski, who reiterated Australia’s commitment to helping Vietnam eliminate asbestos-related diseases.

Local health specialists attended masterclasses in radiology, pathology, oncology, epidemiology, and patient care. Sessions covered the historical use and management of asbestos, the role of public and occupational health in eradicating asbestos-related diseases, and the importance of investigating exposure histories.

Participants and trainers visited the National Lung Hospital to observe how lung diseases and conditions, both occupational and non-occupational, are diagnosed and treated. This busy facility handles a significant number of patients daily, with the primary occupational diseases being silicosis and Coal Miners’ pneumoconiosis. Although past cases of asbestosis have been diagnosed, no recent cases have been reported, underscoring the need to equip local teams with the knowledge to accurately diagnose asbestos-related diseases.

Ongoing Collaboration
We look forward to continuing our collaboration with partners in Lao PDR and Vietnam. Our aim is to provide ongoing support, training, and assistance to build in-country capacity. Additionally, we will commence planning to develop Clinical Guidelines to improve the diagnosis of asbestos-related diseases in the region.

With thanks to our specialist training team 

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