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May 5th 2014, Vientiane, Lao PDR – The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organized a ceremony on the occasion of the International Day of the Midwife in the 4th floor meeting room of MOH in order to acknowledge the importance of midwives saving the lives of mothers and babies in Laos PDR.

The ceremony was attended by Prof Dr. Eksavang Vongvichit, Minister of Health; Ms Rizvina de Alwis, UNFPA Representative a.i; officials from MOH; UN Agencies; INGOs; midwives, teachers and students from University of Health Science; and other participants.

As part of the strategy to prevent and reduce maternal mortality in Lao PDR as well as to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs 5), the MOH with support from UNFPA and other development partners has been working in midwifery programme to provide training and improve capacity of midwives throughout the country.

Significant progress has been made, 357 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births occur Lao PDR, due to complications of pregnancy, during delivery or after birth. Most of these deaths could have been prevented if there were enough qualified and adequately resourced midwives.

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“Access to quality health care is a basic human right and investing in Midwives is the right thing to do. Countries investing in midwives have seen huge improvements in maternal health and Lao PDR will in due time be one of these countries with a remarkable decline in maternal mortality when the midwives are well educated and providing services in adequate facilities. Midwifery services are economically cost effective for the nation. Investment in midwives means a commitment to a healthy and wealthy nation” said Ms Rizvina de Alwiz, UNFPA Representative a.i.

During the ceremony, UNFPA handed over Emergency Obstetric Care equipment and midwifery kits to MOH. The equipment will be distributed to health centres and 4 district hospitals in Savannakhet province through MOH.

The International Day of the Midwife is a yearly celebration set aside in 1991 by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) with the aim to raise awareness about the importance of midwives' work to save mothers’ and newborns’ lives.

Contact Information:

Vanly Lorkuangming, Communications Associate, UNFPA

Tel: 021 315547, Mobile: 020 77822456, E-mail: