- General

UNFPA supports Laos’ midwifery curriculum revision to meet int’l standards

UNFPA is playing a key role in elevating the Lao PDR’s national midwifery curriculum to save the lives of mothers and babies.

Despite progress in maternal mortality, the Lao PDR still has a high maternal mortality ratio of 185 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2017.

Eighty-three per cent of all maternal, stillbirth and newborn deaths can be averted with a full package of midwifery care, including family planning. Investment in midwifery programmes saves lives and is essential for the Lao PDR.

“For the curriculum revision this year, we have a variety of content to update and improve, especially the adolescent and youth-friendly services, gender-based violence, family planning, and inclusive services that consider, among others, people with disabilities. In addition, we also need to include key topics such as coping with COVID-19 and other emerging issues content to ensure our curriculum is up-to-date,” said Ms. Souksavanh Keobailuang, Midwifery teacher, Xieng Khuang Public Health School, who participated in a UNFPA-supported midwifery curriculum revision workshop in Vangvieng, Vientiane province this month.

The workshop gathered midwifery faculty members from across the country to improve modules and subjects for updating to reflect significant changes in global midwifery standards. Participants also discussed new areas to integrate or strengthen, such as leadership skills, inclusive practices, adolescent and youth-friendly services, family planning, gender-based violence, and the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for humanitarian response.

In the Lao PDR, with technical and financial support from UNFPA and partners, the Ministry of Health established a midwifery cadre starting in 2008. Support was given to the Community Midwife programme to upgrade the skills of auxiliary nurses and midwives. The Higher Diploma in Midwifery curriculum was then developed in 2015. To ensure alignment with international standards, curricula must be periodically revised.

Strengthening the quality of midwives to meet international standards is vital in reducing maternal deaths, improving mother and child’s health, and achieving the national commitment to ICPD25, which states that Laos will end maternal mortality and the unmet need for family planning by 2030.

In 2019, UNFPA commenced the revision process of the current curriculum with the support of Khon Kaen University (KKU). Midwifery Faculty Members who participated in capacity-building activities and training with KKU and UNFPA were organized into working groups and have advanced the revision process alongside their work as faculty members at various midwifery schools in the Lao PDR. UNFPA’s midwifery programme is supported by the Government of Luxembourg, Korea Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH), Maternal Health Thematic Fund (MHTF), and UNFPA core fund.

Source: Lao News Agency