The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) has the highest under-five and neonatal mortality rates in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It also has a high total fertility rate and one of the highest adolescent birth rates in the region. Maternal mortality is particularly prevalent among poor, remotely located women belonging to ethnic minorities who have limited access to education.
The Maternal Child Health & Nutrition Activity (Laos MCHN Project) will support communities across 5 provinces to strengthen their capacity as leaders, promote health and nutrition behaviors, and use data to address local concerns. We are working with over 150 health facilities, 650 health workers, over 1,500 village development communities to strengthen support for maternal and child health and nutrition services. Our ultimate goal is to increase access to quality maternal and child health and nutrition services and to ensure communities supported by this project are empowered to be change agents in improving health outcomes for women and children.
To achieve this vision, the project is aligned with the Lao PDR’s Sam Sang Directive, which delegates increasing responsibility to local administrative levels. In support of the Ministry of Health’s Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Strategy and Action Plan (2016–2025), the project will strengthen capacity of national, provincial, and district health partners and engage communities to work with the health system to achieve better health outcomes by:
- Increasing access to and use of MCHN services.
- Improving the quality of MCHN services.
- Strengthening health system capacity at all levels.
- Promoting the adoption of optimal MCHN behaviors by families and communities.
The Laos MCHN project is implemented by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. in partnership with PATH and World Education, Inc.