Asian Development Bank Greenlights Funding for Enhanced Healthcare in Lao Border Provinces

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) greenlights USD 24.9 million for better healthcare in Lao border provinces. (Photo: Ariel Javellana/ADB)

In a bid to enhance access to quality healthcare services in Laos border provinces, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a financing package totaling USD 24.9 million.

The initiative, which includes a USD 4.95 million Asian Development Fund grant and is titled the Greater Mekong Subregion Border Areas Health Project, aims to address the healthcare needs of migrant workers and populations residing in Champasack, Phongsaly, and Savannakhet provinces.

The project comes as a response to the challenges posed by increased migration and economic growth in the Greater Mekong Subregion, which has strained healthcare facilities in border regions. 

Rikard Elfving, Principal Social Sector Specialist at ADB, emphasized the importance of universal health coverage for migrants in promoting a healthier, more inclusive, and more resilient society.

The project’s objectives include upgrading facilities, equipment, and human resources in provincial and district hospitals across the targeted provinces. It will also implement comprehensive healthcare programs tailored for migrant workers, with a focus on female and male migrants in each province. An electronic medical record system will also be introduced to ensure continuity of care between border area hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the country.

Additionally, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration, the project also aims to assist the Ministry of Health in implementing community-based climate adaptation and risk reduction programs for border areas and migrant communities, crucial in addressing their vulnerability to climate change impacts and associated outward migration and occupational health risks.

Established in 1966 and owned by 68 members, ADB says it is committed to promoting prosperity, inclusivity, resilience, and sustainability in the Asia-Pacific region, persisting in its mission to combat extreme poverty and advance regional development.

In 2023, the ADB also approved two funding projects totaling USD 45 million for sustainable urban development in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Aimed at addressing environmental degradation from tourism, the projects include waste management, wastewater treatment, and urban infrastructure development. This project targets benefits for 104,500 residents and anticipates an annual visitor influx of 1.3 million by 2031.