News

Progress toward the National Commitment on Family Planning

9 October 2020

Vientiane Capital, 7 October 2020 - The Government of Laos has made a Commitment to the ICPD25 (International Conference on Population and Development 25) in 2019 that by 2030, it will end Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) through quality of care and the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Strategy and policies and ensure provision of health services based on availability, affordability and high quality services, and provided a target for increasing the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) to 70%. The current estimated for 2020 is CPR only 54%. This shows that Laos has to increase by 16% in the next 10 years to achieve the target set.

The other Commitment with regards to Family Planning is to end unmet need for family planning among adolescent girls by 2030 through allocation of increased resources and expand quality youth friendly services including SRH information and Family planning services women, men and unmarried young people country wide as well as in humanitarian response.  The aim is to increase modern CPR for young people aged 15-19 years to 45% by 2025.

With these two key commitments that are tied to Family Planning, the Ministry of Health who implements the programme would need to redouble the efforts and investments in order to meet the targets. Hence this annual workshop to monitor and track progress of the FP programme across the country. From 2012 to 2020, there had been only 262,000 additional users of FP. There needs to be 312,000 additional users by 2030 to reach the target.

Family Planning is one of the key pillars that reduces maternal and newborn mortality rates and improves the health and wellbeing of women and their existing children. It allows women and men to decide whether to have children or not, when to have them, how many to have and how often to have them. In 2020, by up taking FP services, 299,000 unintended pregnancies were averted, 70,000 unsafe abortion averted and 240 maternal deaths averted. 

The Ministry of Health has already taken into considerations the different recommendations that resulted from the Mid Term review of the RMNCAH strategy, 2019, pertaining to the FP programme. The FP training guideline was revised to include additional updated information and has more emphasis on the counselling module to ensure better care and information provided to clients. 

The workshop was Chaired by Dr Phonepaseuth Ounaphom, Director of Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion and Ms Siriphone Sakulku, SRH Programme Coordinator of UNFPA. It was well attended by Director/Deputy Director of Hygiene and Health Promotion Divisions and key Mother and Child Health Staff from all 18 provinces, as well as key staff from Ministry of Health relevant departments, and development partners who support Family Planning programme.

‘Despite the setback of the COVID-19 situation earlier this year, with the tight lockdown of the country resulted in less clients accessing FP services, FP services seem to be picking up again now. However, more work needs to be done to improve access and encourage, especially young people to utilize FP services’ said Dr Phonepaseuth Ounaphom in his opening speech. The workshop went on for one day, with full participation from the provinces who provided critical analysis and recommendations to improve planning and implementation of Family Planning programme in each province.       

For more information, please contact:
Dr Phonepaseuth, Deputy Director of Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion 
Email:  Phonepaseuth14@gmail.com
Ms Siriphone Sakulku, UNFPA SRH Programme Coordinator 
Email: ssakulku@unfpa.org                                                                                                                                                                

****

UNFPA, the UN's sexual and reproductive health agency, works in over 150 countries including Lao PDR, to achieve zero maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices towards women and girls.