Deputy Prime Minister has called on the Ministry of Health to speed up improvements to health services for mothers and their children especially at district and community levels.
Dr Sonexay Siphandone made the call in his address at a meeting held last week to review implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan for Integrated Service on Reproductive Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.
The strategy focuses on improving reproductive health, safe birthing, emergency care at birth, basic care needs of newborns, children’s healthcare, immunisation, nutrition, health personnel, health financing, and medical information.
Speaking at the meeting on Friday Deputy PM Sonexay reminded the audience about the government giving priority to mother and child healthcare by putting disease prevention and health promotion alongside the quality treatment and coverage of service delivery.
He stressed for women to receive health services during pregnancy and to have a doctor or midwife assisting at birth and after-birth monitoring.
Dr Sonexay referred to results of the 2015 National Population and Housing Census, which showed the mortality rate for children under one year of age decreased from 70 per 1,000 in 2005 to 61 per 1,000 last year.
Meanwhile, the mortality rate of children under five fell from 98 per 1,000 to 71 per 1,000 and the maternal mortality rate fell from 260 per 100,000 births to 206 per 100,000. The country has been third-ranked by the United Nations regarding the progress in reducing maternal mortality.
Dr Sonexay, representing the government, praised the ministry for the achievements.
However, according to the ministry, access to reproductive health, family planning services and health information was still limited for many communities, especially people living in remote rural areas, who rely on subsistence farming for making a living.
Moreover, the quality of the mother and child services, especially healthcare during pregnancy, emergency births and newborn childcare was not in place for many communities with a lack of appropriate facilities, capable staff and equipment.
This caused some mothers to be unaware of using appropriate health services, and only 50 percent of pregnant women utilised them.
I propose the ministry speed up improvements that can make people confident in our healthcare services, DPM Sonexay said.
He noted the medical staff needed for the communities alongside building integrated service facilities that met the ministry’s standards and were accepted by the World Health Organisation.
He called on provincial authorities to facilitate the health sector to fully implement its duty, with the establishment of clearly mandated health committees at village level.
On financing, the deputy prime minister proposed the ministry continue coordinating with the government in building a financial plan and mobilise support from international development partners so that state health allocations could reach 9 percent of total expenditure as approved by the National Assembly.
He also called on provincial authorities to actively contribute to the government action.
Source: Vientiane Times