United States to Help Advance Maternal Child Health, Nutrition in Laos

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United States to Help Advance Maternal Child Health, Nutrition in Laos
Center-left to right - US Ambassador Haymond and Vice Minister of Health Sanong Thongsana witnessed the signing of the MOU for the USAID-funded Capacity Strengthening for Maternal Child Health and Nutrition Project.

New USAID Initiative to Improve Health and Nutrition Outcomes in Five Provinces.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a new five-year Project for Capacity Strengthening for Maternal Child Health and Nutrition. The Project will be implemented by JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc. in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and will implement activities in 24 districts of the five provinces of Phongsaly, Oudomxay, Savannakhet, Salavanh, and Sekong.

Dr. Phonepaseuth Ounaphom, Director General of the Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion; the Ministry of Health; and Mr. Brian Mulligan, Chief of Party, JSI signed the MOU. Witnesses included Dr. Sanong Thongsana, Vice Minister of Health; Dr. Peter M. Haymond, Ambassador of the United States; and Mr. Mark Kowalski, International Division Director, JSI – with more than 50 participants from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and development partners.

Ambassador Haymond highlighted the importance of the US-Laos Comprehensive Partnership. He said, “The United States is proud to continue our support to improve the health and nutrition of the people of Laos. Our comprehensive health assistance helps strengthen Laos’ health system in preparation for any health crises in the future so the Lao people can be kept safe and healthy.”

This USAID-funded Project will improve health and nutrition outcomes among pregnant and postpartum women, newborns, children, and adolescents in hard-to-reach communities.  To achieve this vision, the project aligns its approach with Laos’ Sam Sang Directive, where responsibility is increasingly delegated to local administrative levels. In support of the MOH’s Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Strategy and Action Plan (2016-2025), the Project will strengthen the capacity of national, provincial, and district health partners and engage communities to work with the health system to achieve better health outcomes by:

  • Increasing access to and use of maternal child health and nutrition (MCHN) services;
  • Improving the quality of MCHN services;
  • Strengthening health system capacity at all levels; and,
  • Promoting the adoption of optimal MCHN behaviors by families and communities.

This USAID Project is intended to strengthen the leadership, management, and governance capacity of provincial and district health offices to enhance the quality of care investments by healthcare providers. The Project will also strengthen MCHN outreach services to remote communities and improve village health volunteers, community leaders, and health center engagement for maternal and child health and nutrition.

The USAID-MOH partnership will help establish Centers of Excellence in each province, which will provide clinical training for health workers and improve their knowledge and skills. The Project will also provide easy-to-use informational resources to adolescents, pregnant women, and parents.

Previous USAID investment in nutrition reached 200,000 villagers in 500 communities in Khammouane and Savannakhet Provinces with nutrition and water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions, improving the overall health of Khammouane and Savannakhet people.

About JSI

JSI is a global public health organization dedicated to greater health equity and improving the health of individuals and communities in the U.S. and around the world.

About USAID

USAID leads international development and humanitarian efforts to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance, and help people progress beyond assistance.