Thanks to Japanese Committee for Vaccination (JCV), mothers-to-be and children under five in rural areas of Champassak province have seen improvement in their health due to having proper access to immunizations.
JCV has granted more than US$1.7 million in assistance to Laos through UNICEF since 2007, aiding hundreds of thousands of children and pregnant women.
Dr Somkiet Volalath, of the Champassak Provincial Health Department, has stated that the program has assisted those in the focus areas and is expected to decrease rates of maternal and child mortality. This would help the country eliminate preventable infections and diseases, specifically measles, whooping cough, and diphtheria.
Dr Somkiet, who is also the Vice President of the Provincial Commission of Mother and Child, explained that new types of vaccines have been developed to prevent other infections such as pneumonia and diarrhea as well.
He also stated that, “All children have the right to be protected. If children have not been vaccinated they are at a higher risk of illness, permanent disability, poor nutrition and even death.”
Child mortality rates in Champassak province, (neonatal, infant and under-five) are significantly higher than the national average.
Although immunization coverage for most essential vaccines (BCG1, DPT3, Polio, and Measles) is on par with the national average, essential maternal and child health services such as; antenatal care, postnatal care, delivery by trained personnel, and ORS/home fluids for children with diarrhea, reach less than 40 percent of pregnant women and children in Champassak province.
BCG1 coverage has been maintained above 70 percent during the 2014-2016 periods. However, there is a vast inequality between districts: where Phonthong district shows BCG1 coverage of 93 percent and Pakxong district report only 61 percent coverage.
Over 80 percent of Champassak’s population relies on integrated health outreach for accessing essential maternal, child health and nutrition services and information. This underlines the importance of ensuring adequate frequency and quality of integrated outreach services.
Less than 35 percent of villages are provided health services by district and provincial hospitals, whereas almost 70 percent of villages receive services by health centers.