As part of my current research on cultural values, birth, and parenting in Laos, I recently invited two Lao researchers to Deakin University, Geelong. It was a valuable opportunity to share and discuss research ideas and plans, and current issues of maternity and child health care in Laos. Both Mayfong Mayxay, Vice-President of the Lao University of Health Sciences, and Sysavanh Mayxay, Vice-Director General of the Institute of Research and Education Development at the same university, gave a public lecture on their research specialities: infectious diseases, and quality of antenatal care in Laos. In turn, my two PhD students and myself presented our current and emerging research projects, and received valuable feedback and suggestions from Mayfong and Sysavanh that will help make our research plans useful and feasible.

Our week of activities in Geelong was designed to nurture conversations and exchange of research in the two research areas of infectious diseases, and child and maternal health. We visited the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, the Barwon Infant Study Group, and the emerging Centre for Innovation in Infectious Diseases and Immunology Research. I sincerely wish to thank these institutes and their representants who opened their doors and ears to our group, and so generously shared their time and insights!

We are looking forward to future research collaborations with Mayfong and Sysavanh Mayxay, and to seeing them next time in Laos!