Oxford University honours well-known Laos medical researcher

VIENTIANE, Aug 2 (The Vientiane Times/ANN): Well-known Laos researcher and lecturer in the field of medicine, Associate Prof Dr Mayfong Mayxay (pic) has been awarded a visiting professorship by the University of Oxford.

In Laos, he has published the highest number of research articles in international peer-reviewed journals, and his research achievements have been significantly influential on healthcare in the country as well as regionally and globally, particularly in the field of infectious disease, according to a press release from the Ministry of Health.

At a recent ceremony, Minister of Health, Associate Prof. Dr Bounkong Syhavong confirmed the title of Visiting Professor from the University of Oxford for Assoc-Prof Dr Mayfong Mayxay who is Vice-President of the University of Health Sciences under the ministry.

“I have known Prof Dr Mayfong Mayxay for many years as one of my medical students and a staff member/colleague in the Laos medical sector, particularly in the research unit at Mahosot Hospital called ‘The Laos-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Trust Research Unit’ (LOMWRU) which Dr Mayfong co-founded in 2000 and where I also joined this collaboration when I was Deputy Director of Mahosot Hospital,” he said.

“He is exceptionally talented, enthusiastic, motivated, committed, and creative. More importantly, he is a very modest, gentle and friendly person,” he added.

The conferment of this prestigious professorship from the Medical Sciences Board of the University of Oxford is significant for Laos academia overall, especially for the history of medicine in the country since this is the first time that a Laos researcher has been recognised with this academic title.

“We need more people like Dr Mayfong in our healthcare sector to upgrade and improve the quality of healthcare in the country,” Dr Bounkong said.

“Dr Mayfong is absolutely an example of a role model to inspire many young Laos doctors, and I am pretty confident that there will be more doctors in Laos who will follow his achievement in the future,” the minister explained.

According to a report by the University of Oxford, Dr Mayfong carried out his Wellcome Fellowship training in clinical tropical medicine with the research entitled “Clinical and laboratory studies to guide Laos national antimalarial drug policy” which was associated with Mahidol and Oxford universities.

The results from his research led to a change of the Laos national policy for uncomplicated falciparum malaria treatment from chloroquine and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine to ACTs (artemether-lumefantrine) in 2005.

He has also been an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow in Tropical Medicine at Oxford since 2009.

His particular research interests include antimalarial drug resistance, causes of fever, dengue, rickettsial infections, Japanese encephalitis virus infection, and infantile beriberi. - Vientiane Times/Asian News Network
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