BioScience Trends. 2008;2(3):112-116.

UXO victims and health status of populations living in Xiengkhuang Province, Lao PDR: A household-based survey.

Phathammavong O, Boutta N, Xayamoungkhoun P, Kuroiwa C


During the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1973, over 2 million tons of bombs were dropped on Laos. Approximately 30% of the bombs did not explode and have posed a continued threat to civilians throughout the country. Approximately 200 casualties per year have been reported nationwide. Therefore, we conducted a household survey to better understand magnitude of UXO victims, accessibility to the MCH services and child healthcare seeking behaviors of the population in the Xiengkhuang province. The household-based survey was carried out in February 2006 among 6 of 541 villages. 283 household representatives were interviewed. The cumulative number of UXO victims identified from 1973 to 2005 was 45 casualties, of which 9 (20.0%) occurred in the year 2005. 37.5% reported knowledge of danger zones for UXO contamination. Among the 91 children under the age of 5 years, households on average reported 1.7 episodes per year for diarrhea, 2.7 for respiratory disease, 2.3 for fever and 1.7 for measles. 69.4% of children under five were completed the routine immunization program, 62.6% of mothers used ANC service for their most recent pregnancy, 58.2% accessed family planning services, and 28.6% delivered their most recent child at a healthcare facility. UXO victims in the targeted villages sharply increased in 2005. Insufficient knowledge about UXO danger and MRE seems to be a central factor in the high rate of UXO-associated accidents. Diarrhea, respiratory disease and measles remained health problems for children under 5 years. MCH services utilization were higher than Laos nationally.

KEYWORDS: Rural health, Unexploded ordnance, War, Maternal and child health, Injury prevention, Laos

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