News

Lao PDR celebrates International Day of Midwife

11 June 2019

Since 1992 the International Day of Midwife (IDM) has been celebrated and in Laos also midwives, health sectors representatives, development partners and public come together to celebrate the achievements of midwives in defending women’s rights.

Organized by Lao Association of Midwives (LAM) of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as a part of the ICPD 25 celebrations. The event aims to strengthen role and increase function of LAM in developing midwifery profession within the area of sexual and reproductive health.

Ministry of Health and development partners have invested heavily in training midwives nationwide. There are now almost 2500 trained midwives in Lao. To ensure consistent teaching, Laos also has 76 midwife teachers. They graduated from Khonken University on scholarships provided by UNFPA through it’s South-South collaboration programme.  MoH has deployed almost 1800 midwives to serve women across the country.   

As recently as 10 years ago, 8 out of 10 childbirth were without the presence of a skilled health worker1, while in rural areas without roads, 9 out of 10 children were born without skilled assistance. Women would deliver at home assisted by relatives or a friend, who may not have been trained specifically to provide such support. Consequently, maternal mortality in Lao PDR was amongst the highest in the region.

 “A family without mother is not easy, even if a child survives but the family will continue facing social, emotional and economical difficulties. While not all of the complications are predictable, maternal deaths can be prevented if skilled health workers like midwives are present at the time of delivery” Said Mr Khamphone Phoutthavong, Vice Minister of Health.

Apart from providing 83% of the essential care for mothers and newborns, midwives in Lao were trained to provide youth friendly sexual and reproductive health information and services with non-judgmental manners. It is important for young people to know where to get services and who they can talk to, so that young girls can prevent getting pregnant too early and young boys can be more responsible. Recent maternal death review report shows almost 4 in 10 of maternal deaths occur among young pregnant women aged between 15-24 years.

"Quality midwifery services could prevent about TWO THIRDS of women’s and newborns’ deaths; if midwives are deployed in hardest to reach communities and are supported by having necessary tools and equipment, we can tackle the unfinished business of ending preventable maternal deaths.”   Said  Ms. Mariam A. Khan, UNFPA Representative

The event launched a short documentary shot in Attapeu, which shows how midwives played an important role during the flash flood in Sanamxay District that damaged the entire community’s lives. In the disaster and post disaster, mothers and women in reproductive age were the most vulnerable groups. Manivong, a midwife who worked tirelessly day and night so mothers could give birth safely, women and couples could continue to access family planning, and young girls are safe from GBV.  Manivong was known as a hero to defend women’s rights.

 

 

  1. Skilled Birth Attendance (SBA) Report 2009.

 

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UNFPA is the United Nations reproductive health and rights agency. It is the leading agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. UNFPA promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights, particularly maternal health, in over 150 countries, as well as working to end harmful practices such as child marriage, and supporting population data collection and analysis.

ICPD25  

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Kay amphone Singhalath

Telephone: 021 267 680 Mob: 020 77776597

Email: Singhalath@unfpa.org