PRESS RELEASE November 6, 2017

Lao PDR to Improve Health and Nutrition Coverage

More than 1 million people across 14 provinces will benefit from project expansion

VIENTIANE, November 6, 2017 – More than one million people across 14 provinces in Lao PDR will benefit from the expansion of the Health Governance and Nutrition Development Project (HGNDP).

The agreement for the US$15 million in additional financing – intended to establish a unified approach to healthcare information systems and scale up current efforts to increase access to healthcare for reproductive, maternal and child health, and nutrition services in targeted areas of the country – was signed today by the World Bank and the Vice Minister of Finance, Mme Thipphakone Chanthavongsa. The boost in funding will also support a national campaign to encourage behavioral change towards nutrition.

“Despite some improvements, malnutrition affects nearly half of all children in Lao PDR.  Chronic malnutrition affects how well children learn and earn over the course of their lifetime. We are pleased to partner with the Government of Lao PDR to tackle this urgent issue, in order to ensure continued strong economic growth in the long-term,” said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar.

Launched in 2015, the project aims to integrate and strengthen health information systems, make additional resources available at the sub-national level to deliver priority health and nutrition services, and facilitate behavior change for improved nutrition-related practices.

The financing also includes a US$4 million grant from the Integrating Donor-Financed Health Program (drawing on the Government of Australia’s contribution to a multi-donor trust fund) that will focus on strengthening immunization systems.

“Australia’s US$4 million contribution will help increase immunization coverage in priority districts, and support the National Immunization Program to strengthen immunization systems. This will result in healthier children and fewer outbreaks of infectious diseases,” said John Williams, Australian Ambassador to Lao PDR. 

US$1 million from the Government of Japan is also earmarked to help improve the project’s information and monitoring systems. Once completed, the project is expected to help Lao PDR build a central and comprehensive health information system for the country.

“Japan is providing US$1 million to improve the Health Information System and support implementation of health sector reform. This will contribute to further strengthening evidence-based planning, decision making and program implementation, and thus lead to inclusive and effective improvement of the health of the Lao people,” said Kazuhiro KUNO, Minister of Embassy of Japan in the Lao PDR.

The World Bank currently finances 18 projects in Lao PDR. Investing in People, including reducing malnutrition and improving access to and quality of health services, is one of the key areas of the World Bank’s Country Partnership Framework 2017-2021.


Contacts

In Lao PDR
Hannah McDonald-Moniz
+856 20 2222 1330
hmcdonaldmoniz@worldbank.org
In Washington DC
Dini Djalal
+1 202 468-4442
ddjalal@worldbank.org
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