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COVID-19 pandemic affects essential health services: Lao health minister

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 13:46, July 08, 2022

VIENTIANE, July 8 (Xinhua) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has affected essential health services and, even though the virus outbreak in Laos has subsided, some healthcare services are not able to recover to pre-pandemic levels, according to Lao Minister of Health Bounfeng Phoummalaysith.

This was the assessment of the situation as reported at the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) annual meeting to assess work undertaken in 2021 and the first half of 2022.

According to the local daily Vientiane Times on Friday, the two-day meeting took place in the Lao capital Vientiane from Thursday to Friday, chaired by Bounfeng Phoummalaysith.

Hospital directors from across the country, representatives of provincial health departments, other officials and development partners attended the meeting.

Participants heard a report on progress so far and the next steps planned under the RMNCAH strategy for 2021-2025, especially with regard to the quality of healthcare, efficiency and sustainability of services, and equality in access to treatment.

Bounfeng said the ministry, partners and other sectors had joined forces to curb the COVID-19 spread and the situation was now under control.

But many essential health services were suspended during the initial outbreak of the virus and some services were still not functioning normally.

"The RMNCAH is involved in accomplishing seven of the 11 health indicators endorsed by the National Assembly, meaning that its goals are a priority for every health sector," the minister said.

On the first day of the meeting, health officials reported on progress made to date and the sub-committees of the seven secretariats gave updates and summaries as well as outlining plans for the future.

The RMNCAH project aims to improve the health and nutrition status of pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children aged 0 to 24 months, through access to and use of quality health services and improved community behaviors and practices.

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