Golden Rotary lends a hand with 3-year medical project in Laos

The Rotary Club of Golden has sent one of its members to Laos to oversee a project that is bringing medical education to the country.

Golden Rotarian Bruce McKenzie

Golden Rotarian Bruce McKenzie

The Rotary Club of Golden has sent one of its members to Laos to oversee a project that is bringing medical education to the country.

Bruce McKenzie is spending two weeks in Laos and, along with medical students at the University of Calgary, is hosting a conference to strengthen family medicine in the developing nation.

“Family medicine was identified as a need by the country itself, and this is going to fit the needs of the vast majority of the Laos people,” said McKenzie, who is there to provide support for the medical personnel and make sure the project goals are being met on behalf of the Rotary Club.

The conference is bringing together 150 doctors in Laos, many of whom McKenzie says are directors of their hospitals.

“These people are leaders in their communities and their fields, and what they learn here is going to have a ripple effect,” he said.

McKenzie referred to the old proverb, “give a man a fish he eats for a day, but teach a man to fish…” By providing education this project is going to the empower the people in Laos to help each other.

“Although there has been a dramatic improvement in the health care system the last decade, much more can be done.”

Rotary will continue funding this project. Rotary will be funding the program for three years which consists of the annual medical conference and is further supported by the University of Calgary who will be sending 6-10 teaching teams to Laos throughout the year to provide follow-up on the conference and hands-on local teaching to the Laos family doctors.

For McKenzie, the experience has so far been very satisfying.

“It has been tremendous, and such an eye-opener to see their everyday challenges when it comes to access care and to medicine. Especially in the countryside,” he said.

“We’re very grateful to be able to help out in this way.”