The Minister of Health is urging provincial health officials to submit accurate reports of the numbers of mothers and infants who die during pregnancy and delivery or shortly after childbirth.
From January to June, Savannakhet was the only province to report mortality rates for mothers and infants, he said.
Meanwhile, mortality rates around the country have been assessed and unveiled by WHO, UNFPA and UNICEF, with the figures higher than any recorded by local authorities.
Minister of Health Associate Prof. Dr Bounkong Syhavong last week addressed a workshop on the issue, titled District Health Information Software 2 (DHIS), covering changes in nutrition, social and behavioural communication in 2015 and 2016.
He said that for several years, the information on mortality rates of mothers and infants provided by some provinces was suspect because it differed widely from figures gathered by health NGOs operating in Laos.
I think that the true mortality rates in some provinces are higher than what has been reported. I believe this occurs because health officials are concerned about criticism from their partners if they report the truth, he said.
We need provincial officials to realise that providing inaccurate figures is of no benefit. We are all working to lower the mortality rate of mothers and infants and it is essential that we know the cause of these deaths, he added.
He explained that provincial health officials should not be concerned about reporting the facts.
Unless the ministry received accurate and full information, it would not be able to solve the problem and reduce the mortality rate.
We will be happy if we know that the information we receive from provincial health officials is an accurate representation of the facts. Unless this happens, Laos will not be able to attain the Millennium Development Goals on the reduction of mother and child mortality, in line with government plans, Associate Prof. Dr Bounkong said.
The main targets set include reducing the death rate of children under five years of age to less than 40 per 1,000 births, the death rate of children under one year of age to 30 per 1,000 births and the death rate of mothers to less than 180 per 100,000 births, as recommended by UNICEF.
Source: Vientiane Times