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Maternal health in Lao PDR : repositioning the goal posts

journal contribution
posted on 2011-11-01, 00:00 authored by A Scopaz, Elizabeth Eckermann, Matthew ClarkeMatthew Clarke
This paper reviews attempts made in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) to achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5: Improve Maternal Health and its two targets: (1) to reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio and (2) to achieve universal access to reproductive health. It will be shown that significant strides have been made in relation to both the targets, especially in the province of Xayaboury where the contraceptive prevalence rate is the highest and maternal mortality is the lowest in the country. That said, it is unlikely that either target will be realised by 2015 for the nation as a whole. Some of the reasons for this are canvassed such as problems with the existing health infrastructure and its personnel, the cost of health care, the demographic profile and cultural expectations of women of childbearing age, geographic barriers, the absence of communication and transport infrastructure and the influence of international donors on how monies are expended. As discussions now begin to set the framework for the post-MDG compact of the international community to address poverty and well-being, it would be valuable to consider the multiplicity of factors which directly impact maternal and infant mortality rates (such as family planning, age at first birth, access to antenatal care and government expenditure on maternal health care) and explain what causes change, over non-contextualised statistics that simply report changes.

History

Journal

Journal of the Asia Pacific economy

Volume

16

Issue

4

Season

Special Issue : Old Challenges and New Opportunities for the MDGs : Now and Beyond 2015

Pagination

597 - 611

Publisher

Routledge

Location

Abingdon, England

ISSN

1354-7860

eISSN

1469-9648

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2011, Taylor & Francis