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Vientiane - September 2, Japanese parliamentarians visited programmes of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Lao PDR, in relation to achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5, to gain support of Japan's global commitment to maternal and child health (MCH).

UNFPA has been supporting study meetings "Save Mothers and Children" for Japanese parliamentarians (MP) hosted by Ms. Hiroe Makiyama, MP since 2010. In these meetings, experts have been giving lectures to MPs for deepening their knowledge and insight regarding issues and projects related to MCH issues, especially in developing countries.

Between September 1-3, a group of Japanese MPs who have been participating in the above meetings visited various sites of UNFPA Lao PDR programmes for further understanding regarding MCH. They visited the Mahosot Hospital Obstetric Department and other health-related projects, and met the Minister of Health and Lao PDR's parliamentarians.

Through these visits, it is hoped that MPs will be able to speak on the importance of MCH as a major development issue and will be able to make policy recommendations for increasing Japanese government's support in MCH. With many newly elected parliamentarians, this firsthand experience in Lao PDR is crucial to making Japanese strategic and effective aid decisions for the future. It is also expected to support sustaining the level of Japan's Official Development Assistance. For further information, the Government of Japan commits to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4, 5, and 6, the attainment of which is a major priority area of Japan's current Global Health Policy (2011-2015) (

Participating Japanese parliamentarians were: Hiroe Makiyama, Kusuo Oshima, Masami Nishimura and Yumiko Himei from the House of Councilors, and Hiroyuki Moriyama and Naoto Sakaguchi from the House of Representatives.

This visit has been organized by UNFPA Tokyo and is being implemented by UNFPA's partner NGO, CSO Network Japan, with the strong support of UNFPA Lao PDR.