ADB approves $30m for Laos health services

25 Apr 18

The Asian Development Bank has approved a $30m policy-based grant to help improve health services in Laos.

The grant will focus on four areas of health reform, including assisting the reform process, enhancing the implementation of free healthcare for the poor, improving health human resource management, as well as improving the health sector’s financial management system.

It will also help the government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic expand healthcare coverage, as it lags behind other countries in Asia and the Pacific.

“[Laos] is embarking on a very exciting journey to reach universal health coverage, assuring people’s access to healthcare with affordable and more predictable costs,” said Azusa Sato, health specialist at ADB’s Southeast Asia Department.

“It is doing this through the introduction of national health insurance, which will cover the entire country by the end of 2018.

“ADB has been fortunate to be engaged before and during this exciting transition, and looks forward to tackling other health system challenges, including the provision of quality healthcare, with the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.”

Although the Asian country has made significant progress in the last two decades, with life expectancy higher and maternal mortality down, its key health indicators are still behind those of other countries, the bank said.

For example, the country has the highest mortality rate among children under five years old in Southeast Asia, with 86 deaths per 1,000 births.

Last month, a map revealed that Timor-Leste spends the least amount of money on healthcare than any other country in the world, as experts call for increased global investment in public health.

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