Lao PDR has made steady and significant progress on key population health outcomes over the past few decades. Life expectancy has increased to almost 68 years in 2012, up from 49 years in 1980. The mortality rate for children under the age of five has also declined significantly over the same period: from 201 per 1,000 live births in 1980 to 71 in 2013. Notable progress has been made in improving maternal health, with maternal mortality decreasing from 1,600 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 220 in 2013. The total fertility rate has also declined steadily from an estimated 6.0 births per woman in 1990 to 3.2 in 2013.
The gains in nutrition have been smaller. In Lao PDR, 44 per cent of children under five years of age (around 417,000) are stunted (low height for age), 27 per cent are underweight and 6 per cent are wasted (low weight for height).
Given this background, on Tuesday June 23, the World Bank Board of Directors is considering the Lao PDR Health Governance and Nutrition Development Project. The project involves a total World Bank grant and credit of $26.4 million.
The Project development objective is to help increase coverage of reproductive, maternal and child health, and nutrition services in target areas. This is to be achieved through the following 5 components:
- Health Sector Governance Reforms;
- Service Delivery;
- Nutrition Social and Behavior Change Communication;
- Management, Monitoring and Evaluation;
- Contingent Emergency Response.
The break-down by thematic area is as follows:
- Nutrition and food security (40%);
- Population and reproductive health (30%);
- Child health (20%);
- Health system performance (10%).