Highlight from Save the Children Lao PDR Health program: Training midwives

Monday 17 March 2014

For over twenty years, Save the Children health program in Lao PDR has worked with District Health Departments to improve the delivery of primary health care, including maternal and child health. Activities include provide training to improve knowledge and skills of service providers, such as midwives. Onkheo Chinnakhan, 21 years old from Luang Prabang, is a community midwife that has attended training supported by Save the Children. Onkheo says that she was interested in becoming a midwife because “I wanted to help my community with practical skills”. With most of Lao PDR’s population living in rural and often remote settings access to health services is a challenge. Save the Children focuses on training people like Onkheo to take the skills back to these communities, ensuring care for pregnant mothers and newborns.

Onkheo says

“I really love learning about midwifery – I especially like the practical sessions. So far, I have assisted in eight (8) deliveries, with the support of the teacher at the hospital. My practical session is at the hospital, so I’ll be assisting with up to 20 deliveries by the time I graduate. My community lives in the mountains near the Chinese border, and we are a long way from the city. Some women in my community don’t like to go to the hospital to give birth, so I want to be able to explain to them why it’s important that they have a skilled midwife to help them with the delivery, so they stay healthy and the baby stays healthy. ”

Onkheo, trainee midwife


Fran Stevens, Health Director, Save the Children in Lao PDR, says

“Supporting midwifery training is one of the key priorities of our health program in Laos and one of the most important things that we do. For 20 years, Laos didn’t train midwives, so there is a large shortage of skilled midwives, especially in rural, remote areas. Having a trained midwife means that mothers and babies are safer during delivery, with less injury and death.  We are very proud to be providing scholarships to motivated young women such as Onkheo, who want to positively help their communities”.


Find out more about our health program in Lao PDR