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Intermed International, Inc. (Formerly Dooley Foundation)

Mission Statement

Intermed International, formerly known as Dooley Foundation-Intermed, is a non-sectarian, non-profit International Health organization, 501(c)(3) under the Internal Revenue Service classification. The organization was established in 1961 by Verne E. Chaney, M.D., M.P.H., a former thoracic surgeon from California who had previously worked as Chief of Surgery at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti and with Dr. Thomas A. Dooley in Southeast Asia. Under Dr. Chaney's leadership, for the past 44 years Dooley Foundation-Intermed has initiated and supported medical projects in developing areas of the world, focusing on health education, preventive and rehabilitative services, maternal and child care, and health worker training.

Dooley-Intermed does not receive, nor does it seek, U.S. government funding. Our programs are supported exclusively by private contributions, with most of our support coming from donations from individuals through direct mail appeals, and more recently from limited foundation and corporate grants. To minimize overhead, Dooley-Intermed headquarters staff consists of only five full-time persons. We initiate new projects only on host country invitation and on a participatory, self-help basis. A time frame for completion is established for each project, which is appropriately structured to ensure sustainability beyond the Intermed input.

Over the past four and a half decades Dooley-Intermed has been a pioneer in innovative models for improving the health, education and training of marginalized rural populations throughout much of the developing world. Intermed's main project areas have traditionally been in South and Southeast Asia, especially Laos, Nepal, India, Vietnam and Cambodia; later other projects were established in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Presently Intermed maintains programs in Nicaragua -comprehensive Maternal/Child projects for Miskito and Mayagna Indians; Myanmar (Burma) - blindness prevention and vision restoration project; Laos - blindness prevention and rehabilitation projects for landmine victims; and Thailand - self-help micro-enterprise project for highland village women.

Among the many past programs worth mentioning here are:

Programme Description

As a consequence of the Indochina wars of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, Laos is the most heavily bombed nation, on a per capita basis, in the history of warfare. Most of these munitions were dropped in the form of cluster-bomb canisters, each containing six to seven hundred tennis-ball-sized explosives known as "bomblets"; about one half of these never exploded, and are presently known as UXO (unexploded ordnance).

Millions of these small bombs carpet the countryside, the rice fields, the village plots, the streams, the forests, the roads, and the schoolyards. Since over 80% of the people of Laos live in rural areas, most as subsistence farmers, this presents serious constrains to the health, livelihood and food security of large sections of the population.

In 1995, a Trust Fund was established under UNDP to finance a nationwide program of UXO/mine clearance, and since then millions of square meters of land have been painstakingly cleared of explosive devices.

Still, the tragic legacy of the war years remains. Statistics tell us that about 15,000 people have suffered physical and neuropsychological damage due to UXO; about half of them have died. These figures are believed to be seriously under-representative of the true human costs of UXO, since most people who die at the scene, or those injured who do not seek medical care, especially in remote areas of the country, are not counted in the official statistics. 52% of the casualties are children because the small round balls appear attractive to them as toys; male farmers represent also a high proportion of the casualties.

In addition, more recently both children and adults have increasingly been injured in the process of collecting them to sell to Vietnamese scrap metal dealers, in order to supplement their meager incomes. For the first time since the Lao/UXO clearance campaign started, the number of victims of unexploded ordnance has risen sharply in 2004: 51 accidents between January and May this year, as compared with only 15 accidents in the same period in 2003.

Notwithstanding the ongoing tragedy of those injured and maimed by UXO, these victims represent a relatively small proportion (about 9%) of all people with disabilities in Laos. Intermed International, following an accepted definition, considers a disability as a condition where part of the body is so affected that the person cannot carry on normal functions such as seeing, hearing, walking, using hands, etc. The 2002 report by the Lao National Committee for Handicapped Persons (NCHP) found that the total estimate of people with disabilities across the country was 362,420 persons (equivalent to 6.8% of the population). Rates for rural areas, especially in the more isolated regions, are significantly worse.

According to a survey by the Lao National Medical Rehabilitation Center taken in 1996, 42% of the disabilities involved deafness and speech problems; 29% were due to blindness or severe visual impairment; 21% were amputees; and 8% suffered from congenital limb deformities. Close to 70% of the disabled are children or youngsters.

Unfortunately, as in many developing countries, disabled people in Laos are often excluded from society because they are thought to be incapable of contributing to the family or community; in some cases they are hidden by the family; many disabled children receive little or no schooling; adults find few opportunities to work; and most of the disabled children and adults of Laos still receive no therapy or rehabilitation.

Since the early 1990s Intermed International, at the invitation of the Lao PDR Government, has been collaborating with the two main Ministry of Health Centers that work with the disabled. These are the National Center of Medical Rehabilitation (NCMR), and the Ophthalmology Center, both located in the capital city of Vientiane.

The National Center of Medical Rehabilitation, under the leadership of Dr. Thongchanh Thepsomphou, undertakes activities related to treatment and rehabilitation of amputees, people with neurological conditions, as well as those with sensory conditions like deafness and blindness. It has its own workshop where wheelchairs, prosthetics and orthotics are produced. In addition, it has recently set up a community-based rehabilitation network that is in the process of expansion and runs special education and vocational schools for the disabled. For the past ten years, Intermed International has been supporting the Rehabilitation Center through contributions of ultrasound, electrotherapy and physiotherapy equipment; donations of hearing aids; and support for the local manufacture of wheelchairs and prosthesis, as well as for its community-based rehabilitation program.

The Ophthalmology Center, under the direction of Dr. Vithoune Vissonavong, as part of the Vision 2020 Initiative established by WHO for the Asia-Pacific Region, has an active and successful vision restoration program for cataract sufferers, with 3,300 operations performed in 2003 alone; its goal for 2004 is to perform 4,000 cataract surgeries, with a special effort to reach those people living in the most isolated areas of the country. In addition, the Center has a project to reduce the incidence and prevalence of trachoma in rural areas, and has recently begun local production of topical ophthalmic medicines. Intermed support to the Ophthalmology Center has focused on contributions of intraocular lenses for cataract surgery (1,700 units); prescription eyeglasses (5,000 pairs); ophthalmic equipment including a lensometer and an electric hand edger; educational materials and textbooks; and support for the training of doctors, nurses and technicians in ophthalmic surgery. Recently, at the request of Dr. Vithoune, Intermed has expanded its support for the cataract program and the training of professionals and technicians, and has donated an A-B scan for ophthalmic sonography.

In addition, during the past few years, Intermed International, in an effort to reach out to those people most in need in the rural areas, has re-established collaboration and support to the former Dooley Foundation Hospitals located in Pakse and Khong Island, where some of the older Dooley Foundation Lao staff are still working. In Pakse Provincial Hospital, where large numbers of casualties from UXO are cared for, support has been provided to its chief surgeon Dr. Hao Litang, who worked with Dr. Verne Chaney in the 1960s, in the form of surgical equipment and instruments, textbooks, and oxygen resuscitation units. Likewise, support to Khong Island Hospital has continued through contributions of autoclaves and surgical equipment.

Total Intermed contributions to our Laos Program have been in excess of US$350,000 over the past eight years.

Contact Details

Address: 129 Phonekheng Road Vientiane, Lao PDR
Telephone: +856 (021) 412071
Fax: +856 (021) 416933
Contact Person: Amphone Vongsay, In-Country Administrator
Other Contact: Niphaphone Vongsay, Assistant Administrator

General Information

Number of Local Staff: 1->5
Number of Expatriate Staff: 1->5
Average Annual Budget: 0 USD
In Lao PDR Since: 1961
Country of Origin: USA


There are no branches specified


There are no networks specified


There are no partners specified

Projects and Sector of Activities

Title Description Provinces/Districts Sectors/Sub-sectors
Blindness Prevention and Vision Restoration

Start Date: Jan 1st 1998
Since the mid 1990s Intermed International, at the invitation of the Lao PDR Government, has been collaborating with the two main Ministry of Health ...
National Level
- Health Care
Rehabilitation for UXO Victims and the Disabled

Start Date: Jan 1st 1998
Since the mid 1990s Intermed International, at the invitation of the Lao PDR Government, has been collaborating with the two main Ministry of Health ...
National Level
- Health Care
Support to Rural and District Hospitals

Start Date: Jan 1st 1992
During the past few years, Intermed, in an effort to reach out to those people most in need in the rural areas, has reestablished collaboration and ...