Lao PDR Government, Luxembourg and UN partners focus on further strengthening of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health services
26 January 2020
The meeting was attended by the UN Resident Coordinator in Lao PDR Ms. Sara Sekkenes and the Heads of the three UN agencies involved in the Joint Programme: Mr. Octavian Bivol (UNICEF), Dr. Mark Jacobs (WHO), and Ms. Mariam A. Khan (UNFPA), as well as by Mr. Jean-Paul Senninger, Ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to ASEAN.
In Lao PDR, the Ministry of Health, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the UN partners are working together on the Joint Programme to improve the health of women, newborns, children and adolescents. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is funding 6.5 million EUR to the Joint Programme for 2017-2020, to support the implementation of the Government’s National Strategy and Action Plan for Integrated RMNCAH Services 2016-2025 and accelerate progress towards achieving SDGs in Laos.
Since Phase I (2011-2016) of the Joint Programme was launched, maternal, neonatal and under-five mortality rates in Laos have decreased tremendously, though many challenges still remain. In particular, the mortality rates are still higher in Laos than in the neighboring countries, and 83 out of 1000 girls have their first child at the age of 15-19 (highest in ASEAN region). Access to healthcare of a mother or a child remains unequal, depending on where they live, what ethno-linguistic group belong to, as well as mother’s education and socio-economic status.
The participants discussed the results of the Joint Programme mid-term review and key findings of potential drivers for scaling it up nationwide. These drivers indicated by the Joint Programme include further strengthening capacity of the local authorities and community health systems, as well as bridging the gap between the national and local levels of healthcare service delivery.
The Joint Programme provides policy advice and technical assistance at national level, combined with sub-national support to generate evidence from implementation on the ground to further improve the coverage and quality of RMNCAH services. Key element to that is “Modelling” - developing, testing and refining service delivery packages, tools and approaches. While the focus provinces for modelling are Bokeo, Bolikhamxay and Savannakhet, they serve as learning sites for scaling up of RMNCAH services nationwide.
“In line with the Lao Government priorities and with the pledge of leaving no one behind, the Joint Programme is a flagship development which focuses on improving RMNCAH services for all, including for those from hard-to-reach areas and poorest part of the population. It brings together the expertise of 3 UN Agencies that all have a strong focus on health – UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO – to cooperate with the Lao Ministry of Health, effectively presenting the approach of UN Delivering as One”, - the UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Sara Sekkenes said at the meeting which focused on the current results of the Joint Programme, as well as the opportunities for scaling it up.