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The Ministry of Health (MoH), with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) held in Vientiane a dissemination workshop to present the results of the "Survey on the Availability of Modern Contraceptives and Essential Live-Saving Maternal and Reproductive Health Commodities in Service Delivery Points in Lao PDR 2012", known as the Stock Availability Survey.

This is an annual survey that has been conducted by the MOH since 2010 in Lao PDR. The main objective of the survey is, to provide an insight into the availability and the level of stock-outs of the modern contraceptives and essential lifesaving maternal and reproductive health medicines at service delivery points nationally. It also aims to build a sustainable quality assurance monitoring and reporting system for these commodities in the country, and work on improving the logistics system efficiency and effectiveness. In 2012 there was a modification to include lifesaving drugs and vaccines for children availability in the survey.

According to the MoH, overall, the Stock Availability Survey 2012 shows a good level of commodity availability in the country according to the existing protocols and guidelines of the MoH. It was found that 85% of the surveyed service delivery points currently run integrated Family Planning services, including Information Education and Communication (IEC), and child birth services. Commendable is that 92% are offering at least three modern contraceptive methods and 72% provide at least seven life-saving maternal health medicines.

"We need to work together to expand contraceptive choices, including long acting contraceptives methods such as implants and intra-uterine devices, so couples in Laos can choose from a wider range of options when seeking this service. We need to ensure that all Service Delivery Points are well equipped and staffed appropriately to provide family planning services suitable for the different levels of care with well trained and skilled providers." said Dr. Esther Muia, UNFPA Representative.

"The implementation of the survey recommendations will build on the existing strategies to strengthen and reinforce the different components of the Reproductive Health Commodity Security and particularly the Supply Chain Management System at all levels of the health system which will help us to ensure that every individual can obtain and use affordable, quality reproductive health supplies of their choice whenever they need them" said Associate Professor Dr. Chanphomma Vongsamphan, Director of the Department of Health Care from the Ministry of Health.

The dissemination workshop of the SAS saw the attendance of provincial health officials from Vientiane, Savannakhet, Luang Namtha, Oudomxay and Phongsali as well as central level Ministry of Health officials and development partners.

Contact information: Mr. Diego De La Rosa, UNFPA tel:021-315547, mobile: 020-59936509