The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reaffirmed its continuing support for the nation’s health sector for 2017-2021, pledging to work with the government
for the benefit of Lao people.
That was the message at a consultation workshop in Vientiane on Friday co-chaired by Minister of Health Associate Professor Dr Bounkong Syhavong and WHO Representative to Laos Dr Juliet Fleischl, and attended by provincial health officials from around the country.
The meeting noted recent successes such as WHO support to end the current polio outbreak, developing a regulatory framework to improve the quality of and access to health services, strengthening the capacity of national laboratories, and convening development partners in the health sector to support ministry representatives to participate in international meetings under the previous country strategy. Associate Professor Dr Bounkong Syhavong spoke on the renewal of the Country Cooperation Strategy for 2017-2021 between the Ministry of Health and WHO, noting it was a forward thinking document which would need to be constantly adapted to the changing health challenges and needs of the country
He said the strategy provided the framework for collaboration between Laos and WHO for the next five years by identifying strategic priorities and approaches that would enable WHO to support Laos on its way to achieving universal health coverage by 2030.
The meeting discussed joint priorities as identified through a consultative process involving the government, WHO and other major stakeholders.
“The Country Cooperation Strategy reaffirms the strong partnership between the Ministry of Health and WHO in supporting the reform of the health sector and in improving the health and development of the Lao people. Based on current challenges and needs in the health sector, five strategic priority directions have been identified,” he said.
These include the implementation of priority public health programmes, strengthening of resilience of the Lao health system, increasing capacities to ensure health security, improving development effectiveness in the health sector in line with the Vientiane Declaration II and supporting Laos’ engagement in Greater Mekong sub-regional initiatives, he added. Under these strategic directions, WHO will build on and further strengthen its ongoing successful programme of activities.
“We have been supporting the Lao government and more specifically the Ministry of Health for more than 50 years in various areas such as the development of health policies and strategies, identifying and responding to disease outbreaks, training health officials at various levels, and collecting information on the health sector,” Dr Fleischl said. She thanked the Minister, the Ministry of Health Cabinet, and the Department of Planning and International Cooperation as well as colleagues from other line ministries for their active support and called on all participants to provide open and critical comments.
Source: Vientiane Times