Northerners benefit from primary healthcare programme

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Vientiane Times (July 17th,  2015)

By: Times Reporters

More than a hundred thousand mothers and children in Xayaboury and Luang Prabang provinces have benefited from a four-year primary healthcare programme from 2010-2014 worth more than US$3 million (over 26 billion kip) that children's rights organisation Save the Children implemented in partnership with the Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion at the Ministry of Health.

Officials from Ministry of Health, local health officials in Luang Prabang and Xayaboury provinces, Save the Children's team, and other international development organisations gathered at the meeting on Wednesday in Vientiane to disseminate and discuss the findings of the programme's evaluation under the chairmanship of the Hygiene and Health Promotion Department Director General, Dr Path Keungsaneth.

The meeting reported the achievement of the partnership between the Ministry of Health and Save the Children in helping Laos moving forward to meeting Millennium Development Goals 4, 5, and 6. Particularly, compared to the national rates, the meeting's data showed a decrease in the number of mothers dying from giving birth (maternal mortality rates), children dying before the age of five (under-five mortality rates), and children being infected with common childhood diseases in the two provinces.

According to the findings from an external evaluator from Burnet Institute, the programme contributed to the nation meeting MGDs by supporting the installation of an effective management scheme and a robust system at the local level, improving access to and quality of health services, and fostering collaboration among relevant sectors and local communities.

Despite finding several achievements, the programme evaluation also found some challenges that require continuous partnership between Save the Children and Ministry of Health. Specifically, the findings still showed some targeted districts were unable to reduce under-nutrition rates before the end of this year, which is the expiration date for MDGs.

Dr Path Keungsaneth said, “Our MDGs will end in 2015, and all the evaluations showed that we would achieve most of the goals ex cept Goal 1, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger which is also related to health sector, particularly about the under-nutrition rate.”

Therefore, the meeting projected that a new phase of this primary healthcare programme would be needed in response to the post-2015 development agenda that would be declared after this year.

As a multi-phase programme, the primary healthcare programme signifies a long-term partnership between Save the Children and the government, especially the Ministry of Health, in ensuring the survival and well being of mothers, children, and their families in Laos.

The primary healthcare programme was supported by the European Union, SIDA, DFAT, KOICA, and Save the Children Korea.

Save the Children is a children's rights organisation that has been working in partnership with the government and local communities since 1987.


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