Ministry of Health partners with child well-being champions to improve rural communities’ health and nutrition

CHNSS Project - Laos
Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, Ministry of Health, signed a new project MoU with UNICEF and World Vision to better the health and nutrition skills and knowledge of rural communities in Khammouane, Savannakhet, and Attapeu provinces, with the financial support of USAID.

CHNSS Project - Laos

The Ministry of Health is taking a significant step to contribute to the improvement of the overall well-being of children and mothers in Lao rural communities, with the signature of the Community Health and Nutrition System Strengthening (CHNSS) project’s Memorandum of Understanding with child-focused agencies, UNICEF and World Vision, funded by USAID. This collaborative effort, fuelled by the latest Lao Social Indicator Survey III (2023) findings, marks a significant stride towards the achievement of the Lao National Strategy and Action Plan for Integrated Services on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) 2016-2025.

This project, implemented in nine districts of Khammouane, Savannakhet, and Attapeu provinces, will support around 30,000 children, adolescents, and pregnant women from rural communities with improved knowledge and skills in health and nutrition and enhance the capacities of 89 Health Centres. These centres will act as focal points for disseminating vital knowledge and skills, particularly in the realms of mother and child health and nutrition (MCHN) services. Through the deployment of trained Village Health Volunteers and the provision of advanced equipment, the project aims to fortify the frontline of healthcare delivery, ensuring that even the most remote communities receive the care and attention they deserve.

Dr. Phonepaseuth Ounaphom, Director General of the Hygiene and Health Promotion Department for the Ministry of Health, declared during the ceremony: “Accessing health services is still difficult in some rural areas, and the Ministry of Health prioritises primary health care to ensure universal health coverage in Laos. The CHNSS project will make health services a reality for people in nine districts from three provinces which contributes to leaving no one behind. I would like to say congratulations and a million thanks to UNICEF and World Vision for your close collaboration and technical support”.

"UNICEF is proud to partner with the Ministry of Health and World Vision, with USAID's support, to launch the CHNSS project, advancing health and nutrition for Lao PDR's rural children and mothers," said Dr Mohammad Younus, Chief of Health at UNICEF Lao PDR. "This marks a key step toward meeting the National RMNCAH Strategy's goal, by enhancing local health centres and Village Health Volunteers' capacities for improved service delivery, ensuring no one is left behind. We're united in building a healthier future for all."

“Village Health Volunteers play a critical role in connecting the most vulnerable children and families to the existing health and nutrition services in Lao PDR. We see that strengthening their capacity can create a huge impact in improving the well-being of children and mothers. It is a privilege for World Vision to partner with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF in this endeavour.”

- Edelweiss Silan, National Director for World Vision International – Lao PDR

The project is set to run until March 2025, with an overall budget of 13,332,360,662 Kip (approx. 785,000 USD). With this new initiative, the Ministry of Health, USAID, UNICEF, and World Vision set the health and nutrition of vulnerable children and mothers as priority #1 on the journey to end all forms of malnutrition to achieve Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well-Being for all people in Laos.