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The Promotion of Family Health Association (PFHA) in cooperation with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) held an advocacy meeting with government officials to raise awareness and improve understanding about the benefits of Family Planning.

The event, celebrated in Vientiane Capital on August 27, saw the participation of the Vientiane's governor and other government officials from the MoH at the central, provincial and district levels.

In addition to introduce the Family Health Association's work in Lao PDR, the meeting included presentations on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Family planning as one of the pillars for reducing maternal mortality, situation on mother and child health in Vientiane provinces and the support required to improve the situation.

"Providing individuals with family planning services not only dramatically cuts infant and maternal deaths, but also improves the health of mothers and children" said Dr. Chansy Phimphachanh, Chair of the PFHA. "Complications around pregnancy remain the greatest killer of girls and women in the developing world, including Lao PDR." she added.

Ms. Siriphone Sally Sakulku, Sexual and Reproductive Health Coordinator (a.i) from UNFPA said "the benefits of family planning are not only health-related. This is also a matter of economic and social development. Studies have shown that investing in family planning reduces poverty, increases participation in both education and the workforce and gives women a greater say in their households and communities. The result is higher incomes for families and improved prosperity for countries."

According to the Reproductive Health Commodity Security Stock Availability Survey 2012, 85% of the surveyed service delivery points currently run integrated Family Planning services, including Information Education and Communication, and child birth services and 92% are offering at least three modern contraceptive methods.

Although the maternal mortality ratio have decreased from 405 deaths per 100.000 live births in 2005 to 357 in 2012, according to the Lao Social Indicator Survey, mothers keep dying because of preventable causes, such as lack of access to Family Planning information and services.

The Promotion of Family Health Association was established in Lao PDR in 2011 as part of the International Plan Parenthood Federation affiliates which had presence in Laos since 2004. Their vision is to provide Lao people with innovative and up-to-date reproductive health information and quality services for a healthy society, contributing towards bringing Lao PDR out of the least developed country status.

Their work is based in 4 four key strategies: promoting family health for those in the remote areas of the country, empowering individuals through awareness-raising on reproductive health knowledge, information and services, supporting health service providers at the local level to have adequate knowledge, information and skills and work in collaboration with government authorities, relevant stakeholders, and other civil society organisations.

Mr. Diego DE LA ROSA, Advocacy and Communications Officer, UNFPA, Mob: + 856 20 5993 6509