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Ministry assesses progress in improvement of health services

Officials from the Ministry of Health and the provinces met yesterday in Vientiane to discuss improvements to the health service and ways to enable more people to access better quality healthcare.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Minister of Health, Associate Prof. Dr Phouthone Muongpak, and President of the Health Professional Council, Dr Ponmek Dalaloy.
The most urgent need is to get more mothers and children to benefit from health services, provide health funding for the poor, and improve the quality of medical personnel, as well as achieve Universal Health Coverage.
The Asian Development Bank and the World Bank have funded a programme aimed at achieving these targets with about US$23 million and are helping the ministry to implement the health sector development plan (2016-2020).
Deputy Director General of the Department of Planning and International Cooperation, Dr Founkham Rattanavong, was also present at the meeting to discuss the Health Sector Governance Programme (2016-2020) and hear a report on the programme. 
He said the meeting aimed to ensure the programme allocated its budget in a way that was more effective.
Unless this was done, poor mothers and their children would not be able to access healthcare, he added.
The meeting discussed improved financial management planning and budgeting in local systems, and the development and training of health officials, especially village physicians, midwives and specialists, and health facilities
The development programme is funded by the ADB to reform policy, improve the quality of services, and put more investment into infrastructure and capacity development.
Also under the programme, capacity development and technical assistance have been financed to improve the capacity for financial management planning and budgeting among health sector personnel in the provinces.
“We need to improve the management of projects to support healthcare reform in the country for the health and development of the Lao people,” Dr Founkham added
The ADB was pleased to learn of the programme’s successful progress which is helping the ministry to improve the planning process, strengthen human resources for health, increase financing for health equity funds for the poor, enhance the quality of health services, especially maternal and child health, and boost health facility development 
In 2015, the Health Sector Governance and Nutrition Programme was the first development programme in the sector funded by the ADB.

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update January 15, 2020)

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