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Vientiane, 4 September, 2012. The Lao PDR and Mongolia UNFPA Country Offices have initiated a promising cooperation regarding surveys and census. Recently a team from Mongolia which was made of government officials from the National Statistics Office (NSO) as well as UNFPA and UNICEF staff conducted a study tour in Vientiane, Lao PDR to learn about the experience of the country on the conduct of the Lao Social Indicator Survey LSIS (MICS/DHS).

The delegation met the team from the Lao Statistics Bureau (LSB) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) who led the LSIS, as well as UNFPA and UNICEF staff. Topics discussed and consulted included questionnaire development, planning, resource mobilization, data collection and processing methodologies, coordination, and dissemination of the findings.

The LSIS is a nation-wide household survey to measure social development in Lao PDR applying the technical framework of previous surveys, the Multiple Indicator Cluster (MICS) and Demographic and Health Survey (DHS). The LSIS combines two surveys that were previously conducted separately: the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (1996, 2000 and 2006) and the Lao Reproductive Health Survey (1995, 2000 and 2005). The focus of LSIS is on health, focusing on reproductive health, maternal health, child health and nutrition, family planning, sexual behaviour, as well as HIV/AIDS. It also collects data and information about education, gender-based violence, access to media and use of information, child development, water and sanitation.

During the visit, the Mongolia team also shared their experiences in the implementation of the Population Census 2008. Lao Government officials from LSB and MoH received specific briefing on different stages of the Census operations: Process, best practices, lessons learned and challenges.

Mr. Erdenesuren BAATAR, Vice Chairman of the NSO Mongolia said "we very much appreciate the support of UNFPA and UNICEF and the Government of Lao PDR to take the time to provide us with guidance and advice to plan and conduct our own Social Indicator Survey in Mongolia"

"This is a very good example of south-south cooperation. We have a lot to learn from each other and we expect this to be a very fruitful relationship" said Dr. Esther Muia, UNFPA Representative.