The Swiss Red Cross (SRC) has established a social fund for poor families in Laos. This facilitates the financing of healthcare costs including treatment, medication and transport.

TEXAID was founded in 1978 as a private charity partnership of SRC, together with five other Swiss relief organizations and a private partner. Their aim was to combine the traditional and until that time independent clothes collections into one professional value-added chain that was both ecologically and economically sound. Most of the proceeds generated by TEXAID from the sale of the collected textiles go to the six participating relief organizations. This money enables SRC to finance some of its projects. It supports greatly disadvantaged people both at home and abroad in the fields of health, search and rescue, social integration, disaster management and development cooperation.

Project Background
Laos is a state in Southeast Asia, which remains one of the world’s poorest countries despite stable economic growth. Over half of the country’s approximately 6.6. million inhabitants lives in remote, rural regions. Many of these work as peasant farmers. The harvests they produce usually only just meet the family’s needs. Moreover, less than 20 percent of the total population is able to afford health insurance. As a result, medical treatment is usually a major financial burden for the poor population. Many families are so poor that a case of illness rapidly plunges them into considerable financial hardship. As a result, they frequently delay consulting a doctor for as long as possible, thus endangering their own lives.

Social Fund for Poor Families
The SRC has established the «Health Equity Fund» in order to cover the healthcare costs of people who are unable to afford medical assistance. Experience has shown that ill people seek help in good time in areas in which the fund has already been introduced. This ensures that the quality of life of the population can be improved in a sustainable manner. The social fund covers the costs of treatment, including medication, for the most needy patients, children and pregnant women in Laos.

You can find more information about the SRC and the project «Laos – Access to Healthcare Provision for the Most Needy» here.

May 2015