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Experts Voice Support for Health Sector Reform

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The recent review of the National Health Sector Reform Phase II (2016-2020) has received overwhelming interest and response from development partners.

The review was jointly organised by the Ministry of Health and partners including the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), World Health Organisation (WHO), Lao-Luxembourg Development Cooperation, Swiss Red Cross, and the World Bank.

Minister of Health Dr Bounkong Syhavong last week confirmed the ministry’s commitment to invest in the education and health of the Lao people.

We have achieved several of the health-related MDG targets and remain committed to improve the health of our population under the SDGs. The health sector reform phase II for 2016-2020 will provide the roadmap as we focus on five priority areas, he said.

The five priority areas focus on capacity building through human resources for health, improving health financing, providing better governance, management and coordination, investing in infrastructure and service delivery, and health information systems.

JICA expressed support for the health minister’s initiative and Ministry of Health’s decision to strengthen the implementation of the Health Sector Reform Phase II as a strategy to move toward Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

JICA Senior Representative Ms Saeda Makimoto said that expanding the provision of essential quality health services and ensuring equitable access are two directions pursued by many countries.

The Japan-Lao PDR Joint Development Cooperation Plan for Sustainable Development aim to improve the quality of healthcare and rectify domestic disparity with the goal of achieving the SDGs and bringing about improvements in poverty reduction and human resource development, she said.

They have conducted exchanges with officials from the Ministry of Health to visit Japan and learn lessons and policy options on UHC and health insurance. The UHC EU-Luxembourg Development Cooperation-WHO partnership also supports the achievement of UHC by 2025.

WHO Representative to Laos Dr Juliet Fleischl said We are glad to see development partners committed to the same goals and priorities in supporting the government to strengthen primary health care and improve financial protection. A country-led and country-owned process advancing toward UHC and the health SDG will be supported by Phase II of the health sector reform programme.

WHO will focus on strengthening primary health care to build a resilient health system and financial protection in ensuring that the poor will not suffer financial hardships when accessing healthcare.

To improve service delivery, the Ministry of Health will use integrated maternal and child health as entry points, which also include health promotion in providing family planning counselling, ante-natal checks, immunisation activities from fixed points, and outreach services to hard to reach, vulnerable communities.

With clear direction from the minister, the work of the development partners will be aligned to implement health sector reform for the next five years.

 

Source: Vientiane Times