Laotian children in a store

Annual Report 2023


General Information

In Brief

The purpose of the Swiss Laos Hospital Project association is to provide humanitarian, medical and financial support to hospitals, doctors, nurses and medical staff as well as patients in Laos.

In 2023, all activities in Laos, which were restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic, were fully resumed.

73 volunteers (42 of them from KSW) have spent a total of 1761 (853) days for our project in Laos.

Several construction projects were completed.

The executive board was partially renewed and rejuvenated.

Spitalpersonal auf der Intensivstation

The intensive care unit in the new hospital in Phonsavan was made possible by the Swiss Laos Hospital Project.

Memorandum of Understanding

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is the basic agreement with the Laotian authorities for our activities in Laos. It is limited in time and must be renegotiated regularly. The 2019–2021 MoU was extended until 31.12.2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Negotiations with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a new MoU for the period 2024 to 2028 had not yet been concluded by the end of 2023.


Vorstand des Swiss Laos Hospital Project

The board of the Swiss Laos Hospital Project. Seated from left to right: Dr. Alphons Schnyder (president), Dr. med. Marion Mönkhoff (vice president), Prof. em. Hans Ulrich Bucher (former president). Standing from left to right: Martin Sauter, Dr. med. Jacques Gubler, Claudia Reichmuth, Dr. med. Stefanie Huggle, Dr. med. Toni Berthel, Dr. med. KD Elisabeth Bandi-Ott, Dr. med. Nathalie Brunner (designated head of the General Practitioners Group), Cornelia Gawenda.

Executive Board

Dr. Alphons Schnyder was elected president to succeed Prof. em. Hans Ulrich Bucher at the annual general meeting on 13.6.2023. He has visited Laos twelve times in the past and is well connected both in Laos and in Switzerland.

Also newly elected were Dr. Stefanie Huggle (gynecology/obstetrics) and Dr. Toni Berthel (psychiatry). The other members of the board are: Dr. med. KD Elisabeth Bandi-Ott (general practitioners), Cornelia Gawenda (finance), Dr. med. Jacques Gubler (KSW-Phonsavan), Dr. med. Marion Mönkhoff (vice president; neonatology), Claudia Reichmuth (neonatology, nursing) and Martin Sauter (IT).

The executive board held regular face-to-face meetings on 30.1.2023 and 23.8.2023. The overarching strategy of the Swiss Laos Hospital Project for the next five years was also discussed on 5.12.2023. A large number of matters were dealt with bilaterally or by correspondence.


In 2023, the SLHP counted 8 new members and 7 resignations, 3 of which were due to decease. On 31.12.2023, the association had 150 members.

Annual General Meeting

The regular annual general meeting was held as a face-to-face event with simultaneous video transmission on 13.6.2023 at the Riesbach Community Center in Zurich (see minutes). This was followed by a Thai meal.

Markt in Laos

The massive inflation in Laos is a challenge for both the population and the healthcare system: 1 kilogram of potatoes cost LAK 8,000 on January 1, 2023 and LAK 15,000 on December 31, 2023.

Frau repariert Brutkasten

Repair of an incubator.


Our most important communication channel is the website It recorded a total of 8,517 visits in 2023 (previous year: 7,971). We owe 5.4% of this to the free ads from the Google Ad Grants program (previous year 10%). 4.3 percent of visitors came from Laos, 46.7 percent were English-speaking.

We also report on current events via Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. We sent four e-mail newsletters to 460 recipients and a printed newsletter to 917 addresses in June 2023.

Representation in Laos

Gabriele Grossenbacher was our only liaison on site during the lockdown. She took care of scholarship holders and monitored payments to various recipients. As she returned to Switzerland, she resigned from this role at the end of June 2023. The search for a new solution for a permanent representative in Laos is still ongoing.

Working Groups

Gynecology / Obstetrics

Im Mother Newborn Hospital (MNH) wurden total 6’731 (Vorjahr 8’061) Geburten verzeichnet, wovon 2’246 [28%] (Vorjahr 2’271 [33%]) durch Kaiserschnitt.

Uwe Kullmer weilte 2023 während insgesamt 20 Wochen im MNH, sowie in den Spitälern von Luang Prabang und Luang Namtha. Er setzte sich u.a. für eine regelmässige Fortbildung in geburtshilflichen Notfällen, Perinatal-Konferenzen, eine Schulung in Kolposkopie und einer besseren Kommunikation zwischen Hebammen und Ärzt:innen ein.

Marie-Louise Rubin (Hebamme) und Franca Rüegger (Hebamme und Physiotherapeutin) waren im März 2023 im Provinzspital Pakse/Champassak im Einsatz. Sie konnten Hinweise zur Verbesserung von Routine-Abläufen geben und instruierten das Management von Notfällen in der Geburtshilfe (Komplikationen unter der Geburt, primäre Reanimation des Neugeborenen). Im November besuchten sie dieses Spital nochmals zusammen den drei Geburtshelfer:innen Uwe Kullmer, Elisabeth Lebeda und Sonja Laube und hielten eine Reihe von Unterrichtslektionen.

Stefanie Huggle führte im März 2023 zusammen mit Roswitha Hausdorf und Richard Fürpasz je einen Ultraschall-Workshop im MNH und in Phonsavan durch. Dabei kamen fünf aus der Schweiz importierte Ultraschallgeräte zum Einsatz, die zum Teil repariert werden mussten.

Laotische Mutter mit ihrem neugeborenen Kind

A mother holds her premature baby in a kangaroo.

The following training courses were funded for doctors from the MNH: postgraduate training in maternal pain management at Khon Kaen University in Thailand, a course in early essential newborn care in Da Nang, Vietnam, and participation in the Asia Pacific Congress in Maternal Fetal Medicine in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Urs Lauper spent a total of 21 weeks in Laos in 2023 and celebrated his birthday at the Mothers Newborn Hospital with a colorful and cheerful party.

HIV Prevention

In 2023, 11,554 HIV tests were carried out (previous year: 12,399). Of these, 68 [0.59%] were positive (previous year: 69 [0.56%]). The HIV-positive persons were referred to an HIV center for free treatment. HIV-positive mothers with infants also received free powdered milk, as they are not allowed to breastfeed in order to prevent transmission of the HIV virus to their child.

More information

Delivery Kits

Pharmacy 3 in Vientiane continued to produce bottles of triple dye for navel disinfection and distributed them to the peripheral regions of the country.

More information

Spitalpersonal bei der Arbeit

The growth of newborns being documented.

Visite im Spital

Medical rounds on the neonatology ward.


The neonatology department at the Mother Newborn Hospital in Vientiane under the direction of Dr. Chittaphone was supported with financial contributions towards new equipment, parenteral nutrition, special medication and blood gas analyses. At the same time, numerous teaching sessions were held on various neonatology topics.

Karin Götz and Ingrid Rohrbach spent 10 days at Luang Nam Tha Hospital, where they taught and instructed the equipment they had brought with them in everyday clinical practice.

At Sam Neua Provincial Hospital, Pascale Widmer and Douang Baumann gave lectures on neonatology topics such as nutrition, jaundice and respiratory distress syndrome.

At Sayabouli Provincial Hospital, Laila Forster, Antje Becker, Mirjam Grimm and Judith Schwaller gave teachings on various topics and instructed on medical equipment, its maintenance and hygiene. They also discussed renovation plans for the neonatology department with the hospital director.

Laila Forster, Teresa Loucano and Jasmina Robl taught about CPAP oxygen treatment and fluid management at Pakse/Champassak Provincial Hospital. Medical technician Sandro Riesen repaired a whole series of defective devices. A closer collaboration between obstetrics and neonatology (perinatology) was initiated with the midwives Marie-Louise Rubin and Franca Rüegger and the gynaecologist Dr. Uwe Kullmer, who were present at the same time.

In Savannakhet, Caroline Sievi, Marianne Weyrich and Daniela Holz worked in the new perinatology department.

Schulung im Spital

The examination of a newborn baby is demonstrated.

Our Laotian colleagues translated for us at all locations, especially Keota Khampaseuth and Palavady Savengxok.

All the missions were perfectly coordinated by Claudia Reichmuth, who spent the most days working in the various departments in Laos within the neonatology group. She was also in charge of shipping and distributing our container.

Marion Mönkhoff negotiated with Laotian partners about medical projects and collaborations, as well as ongoing and planned construction projects. Together with Gabriele Grossenbacher, she was even received by the Minister of Health for the new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Nevertheless, there was still time for bedside teaching with doctors and nurses in Vientiane and Savannakhet.

A comparison cohort of healthy term babies was recruited for the aftercare program for premature babies, which was carried out together with Regine Wehrle. We now have a pediatric physiotherapist on the team.

The translation of Thomas Baumann’s Atlas of Developmental Diagnostics into English was initially published as an online book, since a print version would be relatively expensive.

General Practitioners

Heinz Gloor, Jörg Nagel and Jürg Schmidli visited the Muang Kham and Nonghet district hospitals in March 2023, Denise Sidler and Kerstin Busch in June 2023 and Marco Zoller and Nathalie Brunner in September 2023. They revisited topics discussed before the pandemic, such as hygiene, reporting, laboratory, ECG and X-ray as well as diabetes consultations. These topics were primarily taught interactively with the involvement of the Laotians. The eight scholarships previously awarded were continued.

KSW-Phonsavan Hospital Partnership

The Cantonal Hospital in Winterthur has been maintaining an independent partnership with the provincial hospital in Phonsavan since 2010 in order to exchange knowledge, skills and experience in various hospital activities. 39 specialists from 7 different hospital professions worked on site for a total of 99 weeks. For more information on the activities in 2023, please refer to the website

Essen im Restaurant

A Laotian delegation led by the Deputy Minister of Health visits several hospitals in Switzerland.

Hospital Management

180 managers from the five central hospitals in Laos were trained in hospital management and leadership by Alphons Schnyder. The SLHP also contributed to the concept for greater hospital autonomy on behalf of the Laotian Minister of Health. The three central hospitals selected for piloting (Mahosot, Mittaphab and Setthathirath) were supported in the implementation of autonomization steps. To this end, workshops were held with the three hospital managements. In addition, training sessions were held at the Children Hospital and the Mother and Newborn Hospital to introduce hospital autonomy.

An delegation of eight Laotian healthcare executives visited KSW, Kantonsspital Schaffhausen, USZ and Privatklinik Hohenegg on their way home from a congress in Geneva at Pentecost 2023.

More Information

Mental Health

In the first week of October 2023, the psychiatrists for adults and the psychiatrists for children and adolescents organized a conference on «Mental Health» at Mahosot Hospital, which was attended by around 160 participants.

The working group for child and adolescent psychiatry held eleven two-hour online lessons with simultaneous translation into Laotian. Topics such as depression, schizophrenia, sleep and eating disorders were covered, illustrated with case studies.

More Information

Activity report 2023 of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Group (in German)


Distribution of materials and monitors brought along.

Building Projects

Luang Namtha

The renovation of two operating theaters and auxiliary rooms at Luang Namtha Provincial Hospital was completed in 2023. However, the inspection revealed significant defects that still need to be rectified. A new construction company needs to be found for this.

Bauarbeiten an Spitalgebäude

A hospital wing is being renovated in Savannakhet: the lower level for obstetrics and gynecology, the upper level for pediatrics and neonatology.


The gynecology/obstetrics, neonatology and pediatrics departments in Savannakhet, which were built with the financial support of the Claus Cramer Foundation and another foundation (which does not wish to be disclosed by name), were occupied and inaugurated in 2023. However, a number of structural defects were identified and documented here as well. The elimination of these defects is a prerequisite for the SLHP to transfer the final tranche of the agreed funding. In addition, some equipment such as operating lamps and anesthesia machines are still missing.

Eröffnungszeremonie mit Mönchen

The new hospital in Phonsavan was officially opened. However, there is still some way to go before it will be fully functional.

Xieng Khouang

In May 2023, the new 200-bed provincial hospital in Phonsavan, which was financed by Vietnam, was handed over to the Laotian authorities and opened in August 2023. Together with the hospital staff and the architect Vone Sivala, whom we already knew, the SLHP evaluated opportunities for improvement in the areas of safety, hygiene and functionality. The necessary major renovation work was already well advanced at the end of the year and was very much welcomed by the hospital staff.

Internships for Students


Students from Switzerland are given a certificate at the end of their one-month internship.

In the reporting year, Elisabeth Bandi-Ott handed over the internship program she had initiated for Swiss medical students in Laos to Michèle Stahel and Catalina Mönkhoff Miller. The contact person at Mother Newborn Hospital is Dr. Sengchan. In 2023, 12 students from Switzerland completed an internship in Laos, and there are already a number of applications for 2024.

Annual Financial Statements 2023 and Audit Report

The annual financial statements, including the auditors‘ report, are available as separate documents.


Our association is supported by a large number of volunteers and sponsors. On behalf of the government and the people of Laos, we would like to thank all those who have contributed through their personal commitment or donations.

13th February 2024

Prof. em. Hans Ulrich Bucher
Former President

Dr. Alphons Schnyder

All Annual Reports

Annual report 2023
Read online (in English)

Annual report 2022
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Annual report 2021
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Annual report 2020
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Annual report 2019
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Annual report 2018
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Annual report 2017
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Annual report 2015/2016
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Annual report 2013/2014
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Annual report 2011/2012
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Annual report 2009/2010
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