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June 5, 2024

Laos' Efforts in Nutrition, Maternal and Child Health

laos health
— https://www.unicef.org/laos/press-releases/lao-pdr-leads-regional-effort-enhance-pre-service-nutrition-education-among-health
June 5, 2024

On May 6, Lao PDR hosted an inaugural ASEAN consultation to develop and standardize pre-service nutrition education for health professionals in Luang Prabang. Many key stakeholders in the health industry - Vice Ministers of Health, senior officers from MoH, faculties, academicians, and experts - participated in developing a nutrition competency framework that ensures the best conditions for maternal and child health. Vice Minister of Health Dr. Snong Thongsna emphasized Laos' “unwavering commitment to nutrition” while acknowledging the disparities in pre-service nutrition education and the diverse needs of ASEAN regions. A draft of a unified curriculum was agreed upon, which is the first step towards the ultimate goal of developing and implementing ASEAN Guidelines and Minimum Standards for Nutrition Competency-based pre-service Training for Frontline Health Workers.
Another initiative by Lao PDR to improve maternal and child health is the CONNECTinitiative, led by the MoH and Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) and supported by the World Health Organization (WHO). On April 24 in Vientiane, a new multi-year U.S. partnership was launched to strengthen Laos' health and governance system to enhance nutrition, and maternal and child health in the country. The partnership intends to provide USD $10 million for CONNECT, and was highlighted in a ceremony attended by key stakeholders including officials from the MoH, MoHA, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and WHO. The initiative aims to build trust between healthcare providers and the community by boosting access to essential healthcare services such as maternal and child healthcare and vaccinations. WHO and USAID strongly support Laos' health priorities and are dedicated to expanding the initiative to underserved communities in service of universal health coverage.
Despite food security being exceptionally vulnerable to climate change and economic crisis, the Lao government has shown resilience through actively participating in both national and ASEAN-led health initiatives in recent years. Stakeholders in these initiatives are optimistic about the development and further opportunities to advance nutrition, and maternal and child health in Laos.

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