Poor still have limited access to health services
Health authorities at local hospitals and dispensaries which receive funding to provide treatment to poor people need to work harder to make sure that such services are available to those who need them.
The Ministry of Health confirmed recently that Laos has achieved success in establishing mechanisms to offer free health checks and treatment to poor people in the provinces.
However despite the fact that such mechanisms have been set up, many poor living in remote areas in target provinces of the country still can't access health services because they don't have enough money to pay for a hospital visit.
The hospitals and local dispensaries are not always responding to the ministry's policy, according to the Joint External Evaluation on international health regulation.
Deputy Director General o f the ministry's Department of Planning and International Cooperation, Dr Founkham Rattanavong reported the finding at the annual health sector meeting in Vientiane recently.
He said the fund aims to enable poor people living in remote areas of the country to enjoy better access to health services including free health checks and treatment at hospitals and dispensaries, by offering those services free of charge to the poor.
This fund was implementing the health reforms policy to improve the quality of services and investment in infrastructure and capacity development.
Still, the ministry ran a successful fund aimed at increasing access to better quality health services for mothers and their children, providing health funding to the poor, and improved the quality of human resources in the health sector, according to government policy, he said.
Health services at hospitals and dispensaries across the target provinces are supposed to be free of charge for the poor according to fund.
However some district hospitals and dispensaries are failing to follow this policy.
Dr Founkham explained that the health equity funds for the poor are designed to enhance the quality of health services especially maternal and child health, and boost health facility development.
The ministry says it will continue to develop and improve the health services provided by medical staff, including nurses and doctors, aiming to respond to the government policy.
In the future, the ministry hopes to promote continued health sector reform, funding of health services for the poor, and quality improvements, especially with regards to maternal and child health, while continuing to strengthen health facilities.
At present, the fund is being implemented in target provinces of the country. They are Phongsaly, Luang Namtha, Bokeo, Xayaboury, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay, Huaphan, Xieng Khuang, Xekong, Xaysomboun, Champassak, Attapeu, Saravan and Savannakhet.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 10, 2017)