- General

Sustainability and innovation for Essential Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health

The Ministry of Health and UNPA organized a joint visit to one of the Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) Initiatives: Supporting Essential Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (SRMNCAH) Services during COVID-19 in Luang Prabang.

The aim of the mission is: i) to understand how the fund supported initiative contributes to safeguarding essential RMNCAH services in the current crisis, and ii) provide recommendations as to what health service approaches introduced by this initiative should be strengthened so that pregnant women, children and adolescents can access them during COVID-19 and after.

MoH and UNFPA visited Phoukhoun district, where they met with District Health Office and District Hospital staff who shared the adapted approaches to essential RMNCAH services.

MoH and UNFPA also discussed with Phakeng Health Centre staff to understand how they apply their learning from the training provided under the MPTF.

These trainings included services provision related to COVID-19, but also innovative approaches such as the telehealth for antenatal care, postnatal care and child care, as well as psychosocial support to health workers.

The tour was concluded by a stopover at Luang Prabang Provincial Town with the Provincial Health Department Director for a wrap-up meeting and agreements on recommendations and follow-up actions.

UNFPA’s support to the Ministry of Health is focused on the implementation of the RMNCAH Strategy 2016 – 2025 and universal access to Reproductive Health through: Adolescent and Youth Friendly Services, Basic Emergency Obstetric Care (BEmOC), Family Planning, Midwifery, SRMNCAH services through mobile outreach and Telehealth

Since the project implementation started, the programme was marked by great achievements such as development of COVID-19 related guidelines , master training for the staff; mentoring 5 core trainers in Luang Prabang and procurement of necessary equipment provided to health facilities and communities, valued at US$75,000. Our next goal is to duplicate the successful work, ensure knowledge sharing between master trainers and other health staff, increase the coverage of new initiatives such as telehealth with the aim that no woman, no adolescent and no young person miss accessing services they need.

“the Ministry of Health and development partners, especially UNFPA work closely together to respond to COVID-19 and reduce its impacts by developing a package of maintaining essential Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) Services during COVID-19. This package of new knowledge, including telehealth was already introduced to healthcare providers from 3 district hospitals and 16 health centres in Luang Prabang. I believe that health staff who are trained will have the knowledge and the ability to provide RMNCAH services to mothers, children and adolescents confidently and safely,” Vice Minister of Health Phouthone Meuangpak said in his speech during his visit to Phoukhoun District.

He also called on Health managers to think about capitalizing on this work that was started with seed funding and include sustainability approaches into their work plans and programmes using available domestic budgets to ensure that activities can continue.

“We support the family planning programmes under an approach of sustainability, ownership and innovation by encouraging national and local actors to draw lessons learned and determine a plan of action to continue a “good approach”, relying on national capacities built under this project and standalone initiatives such as the telehealth which help detect at risk pregnant women, children with danger signs and referral in a timely manner for care and treatment, and thus reducing maternal and child deaths as ultimate,” said Mariam A. Khan, UNFPA Representative.

Source: Lao News Agency