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Laos vows improved healthcare access at regional conference

Laos will continue to cooperate with regional and development partners to improve access to health services, a recent conference in Manila, the Philippines, has heard.
Conducted under the theme ‘Digital Health’, the 70th session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific took place from October 7-11 with the Lao delegation led by Deputy Minister of Health, Assoc. Prof. Dr Phouthone Muongpak.

During the session, the deputy minister said the Lao government had made good progress towards universal health coverage through sector reforms to improve access to service delivery.
“The ministry is now strengthening access to health services to move towards universal health coverage. Primary healthcare will be the cornerstone of service delivery in Laos with a focus on integrated healthcare services at the community level,” he said.
“We are now focusing on key health priorities, including a reduction of maternal and child mortality, ending all forms of malnutrition, addressing ageing, disabled and other vulnerable populations, and increasing universal access to clean water and adequate sanitation aiming for the elimination of open defecation,” he added.
The deputy minister also detailed efforts to evaluate the five-year sector plan to develop a more comprehensive upcoming plan and phase 3 of health system reform from 2021-2025.
The new plan will contribute to the next five-year national socio-economic plan, plans to graduate from least developed country status and achieve universal health coverage by 2025, and fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
During the session, Lao delegates participated in discussions on the yearly report on the implementation of projects by the WHO and reported on measures taken by the government on each project and programme, noting challenges in implementation and issues that needed support from the regional committee.
The delegates then detailed how IT is being used to deliver healthcare services throughout the country without being limited by time and distance.
This year’s session introduced and discussed ‘For the Future: Towards the Healthiest and Safest Region’, a policy paper defining the vision for the next five years, which was approved by all member countries
Documents such as ‘Regional Action Plan for Tobacco Control in the Western Pacific (2020-2030)’, ‘Regional Action Framework on Protecting Children from the Harmful Impact of Food Marketing in the Western Pacific’, and ‘Framework for Accelerating Action to Fight Antimicrobial Resistance in the Western Pacific Region’ were also discussed and approved.

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update October 17, 2019)

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