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Immunization

Going the extra mile in Laos

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After a gruelling journey from Luang Namtha district health office, Chantara and Laluanglad finally arrive in Nam Chang, a 200-strong community of subsistence farmers and their children, belonging to the Lanten ethnic group. The Lanten people – who have their own language, distinctive indigo clothes and cultural beliefs – live in communal long houses with mud floors shared by up to five families. Nutritional problems, malaria and respiratory diseases are common. Villagers have their own beliefs about why people become ill. Some believe that malaria is caused by bad water, others that the illness of a child could be caused by a failure to pay due reverence to particular spirits.