A few years ago the health situation in Laos was a lot worse than it is today. This was partly due to the civil war that plagued the country until 1975. But even with the stabilization of the political situation and the opening up to the world, the health care system has only improved to a limited extent. With the stabilization of the political situation and the country’s opening up to the world, the health situation has improved. Nevertheless, the healthcare in Laos is still not comparable to western standards or the neighboring Thailand. However, that is likely to change in the coming years. With the completion of the Laos-China railway by 2021 and major investmens of the neighboring countries the health situation is going to be better. Since Vientiane is the capital of the country, the health care here is anyway with the best in Laos. At least there are no problems because of a lack of coverage.
Why the health situation in Vientiane is problematic and what you can do in emergency situations
The problem of most hospitals in Vientiane is the lack of equipment. Some don’t even have the most basic things. This is especially the case with the local hospitals. But even Western or Thai hospitals don’t have the facilities to handle serious emergencies. Still, since Vientiane is located in close proximity to the Thai border, there is a possibility to react accordingly in serious emergencies. You have to cross the border and go to a Thai hospital. Most of them usually are way more sophisticated than the ones in Laos. If it is urgent the Aek Udon International Hospital can dispatch an ambulance and take you there. And don’t worry. As a rule, the hospitals in Vientiane can stabilize you at least until the ambulance arrives.
Treatment of minor or moderate ailments
If you’re suffering of minor or moderate ailments you won’t have to go to Thailand for treatment. The health care in Vientiane is definitely good enough for that. And even broken bones or something like that can be treated here. The same applies to not- too-complex emergencies. There are some hospitals for such cases. In more serious situations, you should definitely visit a western or Thai hospital. For minor ailments, the local hospitals and the pharmacies are more than adequate. If it is about minor ailments, you often even get a better treatment than in your home country. Just go to the pharmacies and you’ll usually find help quickly. As is usual in Asia, many pharmacies are very well equipped.
Cost for medical care in Vientiane
If you visit local hospitals or buy drugs at the pharmacy, you’ll usually pay very little. It is by no means comparable to the costs in western countries (without health insurance). But if you go to the western hospitals, it will be much more expensive. Nevertheless, the costs are still relatively low. One potential option would be the French Medical Center. You’ll get an excellent service and usually have to pay less than $50 USD. However, regardless of this, you should be aware that the cost of an emergency can skyrocket easily. Not to mention that you may be denied treatment if you can’t pay directly or have a health insurance. For this reason, a travel insurance is essential. You never know what happens. It is therefore important to be prepared. But if it’s just a matter of minor health problems, you can usually pay them easily. But as we mentioned, it depends on where you go. If it’s just a cold, you can buy medicine at 7-Eleven.