Celebrating a Melbourne-Lao partnership

Renewal of an Memorandum of Understanding has been a chance to reflect on the successes of an ongoing partnership between Melbourne and Lao Universities delivering outcomes for child health and medical education.


On 1 November 2016 the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences of the University of Melbourne signed a second five-year Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Health Sciences Lao PDR (Laos). The signing was attended by the Australian Ambassador to Laos, Mr John Williams, the Director of the University of Health Sciences (UHS), Professor Somchith Boupha and Professor Glenn Bowes representing the University of Melbourne.

The signing was a chance to reflect on the significant achievements over the last 5 years in two main areas of work - improving the care given to children in Lao hospitals and building medical education capacity at UHS.

Led by Dr Amy Gray, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Paediatrics, the backbone of the program is the placement of Australian post-graduate training doctors in Laos for six to 12 months to work alongside Lao colleagues.

In partnership the University of Melbourne and UHS have worked to:

  • improve clinical skills teaching,
  • develop assessment methods,
  • understand access to educational resources,
  • improve medical English capacity and
  • initiate staff exchange.

In collaboration with the Lao Pediatric Association the major achievements in hospitals have been:

  • translation and dissemination of the WHO Pocketbook of Hospital Care for children to all provinces in Laos
  • establishment of a working group to further develop much-needed clinical guidelines and
  • development of a continuing medical education approach to improve care in district hospitals.

The last five years has seen the deployment of 24 staff and students from the University of Melbourne to Laos with short term technical visits totalling 239 days in country, and long term placements equating to almost nine years of on the ground support. This work is has been generously supported by Planet Wheeler Foundation.