Minister urges pediatricians to improve quality of care
Pediatric specialists will need to work harder to develop health workers' capacity in order to reduce the child mortality rate, Minister of Health Assoc. Prof. Dr Bounkong Syhavong has said.
Although the infant mortality rate in Laos has declined as a result of the government's push to achieve Millennium Development Goal 4 on lowering child mortality, it remains higher than those of neighbouring countries.
This is due to limitations in the knowledge and capacity of pediatric health workers, he added.
Assoc. Prof. Dr Bounkong made the comments yesterday at the opening of the two-day 13th Lao Pediatric Continuing Medical Education Conference held in Vientiane. The event also marked the 20th anniversary of the Lao Pediatric Residency Training Programme.
The annual conference plays an important role in bolstering the knowledge and capacity of members of the Lao Pediatric Association. There had been changes in the pediatric treatment at each of the hospitals in Vientiane as well as at provincial hospitals, he added.
This year's meeting introduced new ideas and techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Participants were encouraged to use this knowledge to improve their work and provide more effective treatment.
Over the past several years, the Lao Pediatric Association has had success with treatments and services in response to the demands of the general public, and healthcare in this field has improved around the country, the health minister said.
For several years, the ministry and hospitals in Vientiane have held meetings and workshops to increase understanding and broaden the knowledge and capacity of doctors, nurses, and medical staff with respect to providing quality healthcare services to their patients, he added.
But, regrettably, the number of complaints by the public to pediatric experts about problems encountered with healthcare services was continuing to increase each year, and too many children's deaths were preventable, Assoc. Prof. Dr Bounkong said.
This meant that pediatric specialists in each province must improve the quality of healthcare, so that infants could be better cared for and more lives saved.
This was necessary to implement the five-year health sector development plan for 2016-2020 and overcome challenges to meet the health-related Millennium Development Goal and Sustainable Development Goal targets.
A senior official from the Lao Pediatric Association, who asked not to be named, said that although maternal, newborn and child death rates in Laos have continued to decline, many parents in some areas of the country are unable or are reluctant to make use of health services partly because they have concerns about the ability of doctors.
He said hospitals and local dispensaries were not complying with the ministry's policy and many people in target communities were deprived of health services.
According to the 2016 Lao Social Indicator Survey, the mortality rate of infants is 86 per 1,000 live births, while the mortality rate of mothers was 200 out of every 100,000 births.
By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update March 03, 2017)