The government of the Republic of Korea has agreed to provide grant assistance to the Lao government for improvements in the health sector.
Support will be extended to five projects through cooperation with the Korean Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH).
These include health system strengthening, communicable disease control and prevention, academic and scientific cooperation, training for health personnel, and maternal and child health promotion.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and grant agreement were signed on Thursday in Vientiane by the Minister of Health, Associate Prof. Dr Bounkong Syhavong, and the President of the KOFIH, Dr Inh Yohan.
Korea’s Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Bang Moon- kyu, was also present on the occasion.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Associate Prof. Dr Bounkong Syhavong said the programme will help to lay the groundwork for the prevention of communicable disease outbreaks in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
At the same time, Korea will be able to demonstrate its technological advancement and experience in supporting Laos to achieve its global health security agenda.
He said in the field of communicable disease control, diseases such as malaria, HIV, dengue fever, measles, tuberculosis and cholera still remain a threat in Laos.
In the field of maternal and child health, the KOFIH and the Ministry of Health have established a long term plan for maternal and child health promotion projects, especially in Xieng Khuang and Huaphan provinces.
This programme helps to support Lao children including girls and women of child- bearing age to access free healthcare services, he added.
Dr Bounkong said that in the field of education and research “I would like to request Korea to help to transfer medical technology to our hospitals and universities.”
“We are seeking continued support for the training of our potential health personnel.”
Dr Bang Moon-kyu said the signing of the MoU on healthcare between the Lao Ministry of Health and the KOFIH on behalf of the Korean government would improve the health sector in Laos and strengthen healthcare cooperation between the two countries, underpinning the entry of Korea into the national health insurance system and healthcare industry over the mid to long term.
He said the KOFIH had reviewed the outcome of the integrated maternal and child health promotion project in Laos that had been implemented for five years from 2010 to 2015 with the Lao Ministry of Health.
This project had been successful and over the five years had reached about 120,000 women of child- bearing age and 62,000 children under the age of five, reducing mortality rates.
From 2010 to 2015, the maternal mortality rate dropped from 294 to 197 deaths out of every 100,000 birthing women and child mortality rates from 79 to 67 deaths for every 100,000 live births, Dr Bang said.
The Korea Foundation for International Healthcare aims to continue promoting international cooperation and realising humanitarianism by carrying out healthcare support projects for developing countries, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, overseas Koreans, and immigrant workers in the Republic of Korea.
Source: Vientiane Times