VIENTIANE, Laos - Rear Admiral Raquel C. Bono, Command Surgeon, U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), visited Lao P.D.R. from February 16-29, 2012, and met with senior Lao military and civilian health officials to discuss issues related to ongoing and future U.S – Lao medical cooperation.
VIENTIANE, Laos (Feb. 28, 2012) - Dr. Snlvourast Sramany (second left) receives blood safety equipment from Rear Admiral Raquel C. Bono (fourth right) at the National Blood Transfusion Centre in Vientiane, witnessed by Colonel Bountern Bandavong (third left) and Lieutenant Colonel James McAden (third right). (Courtesy photo by Vientiane Times)
During her visit, Rear Admiral Bono also participated in a ceremony to hand over more than $43,000 worth of blood safety equipment. The blood safety equipment was provided by the USPACOM Joint Blood Program Office as part of an ongoing cooperation program between the U.S. Pacific Command, the Lao Red Cross, the Ministry of Health, and the Lao People’s Army Military Medical Department. The equipment included blood centrifuges, blood bank refrigerators, textbooks, and other items to support blood safety procedures within the Lao PDR. The ceremony for the handover of the blood safety equipment and supplies took place at the National Blood Transfusion Center of the Lao Red Cross in Vientiane on February 28, 2012. The U.S. Defense Attaché, Lieutenant Colonel James McAden, Dr. Snivourath Sramany, the President of the Lao Red Cross and Colonel Bountern Bandavong, Director of Military Medical Department, Ministry of National Defense participated in the ceremony.
This was Rear Admiral Bono’s first visit to Laos as the Command Surgeon of U.S. Pacific Command. The visit provided an opportunity to broaden the United States – Laos medical relationship and explore opportunities for future engagement such as medical and humanitarian assistance activities and human resources development.
During her visit, Rear Admiral Bono met with Vice-Health Minister HE Professor Dr. Bounkong Sihavong, HE Major General Chansamone Chanyalath, Vice-Minister of National Defense, Dr. Bounlay Phommasack, Director of the National Emerging Infectious Disease Coordinating Office (NEIDCO), Dr. Phouthone Southalak, Director of the Center for HIV/AIDS/STI (CHAS), Dr. Thongchan Sisouk, Director of Laboratory Division, the National Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology (NCLE), Dr. Phath Keungchaneth, Deputy Director of Mittaphab Hospital and Dr. Snivourath Sramany, President of Lao Red Cross. Many of these guests were also invited to attend a reception for Rear Admiral Bono at the U.S Ambassador’s Residence hosted by the U.S Ambassador Karen Stewart.
Rear Admiral Bono’s visit built upon the recent strengthening of the U.S.-Lao military-to-military relationship, and provided a forum to discuss the pace and level of future cooperative military activities.
During all her meetings with Lao officials, Rear Admiral Bono affirmed that she is seeking cooperation and collaboration with allies and partners in order to achieve effective solutions to common challenges in the Asia-Pacific region.