Challenges in health financing for Lao PDR

April 18, 2013


Despite notable progress, Lao PDR continues to have poor maternal and child outcome indicators.

Photo: Stanislas Fradelizii/World Bank

Key Findings:

  • Despite progress, Lao PDR continues to have some of the world's worst maternal and child health outcomes, both globally as well as in the East Asia and Pacific region.
  • These poor outcomes have been the result of insufficient and ineffective funding, with government spending at a low 1.1 percent of GDP.
  • Most costs are paid for by patients and their families, which has resulted in people not accessing health services as often as necessary.
  • Contributions made from international donors have played a significant part in funding; however this source of financing has often been variable. The Lao Government is currently making plans to increase the amount it spends on health as a percentage of the government budget, from 4.3 percent to 9 percent.
  • A major challenge for the government will be to make sure that this money will be used to improve the quality and access of health services across the country, especially for the poor and the people living far away from towns and cities.
  • By ensuring that more children are fully immunized and that pregnant women receive the right care in the right place when they give birth, the Lao Government can effectively improve maternal and child health.