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Lao Midwives Host Their 1st Workshop on Maternal Death Surveillance

(KPL) Through the support of UNFPA and Lao Midwife Fund, the Lao Association of Midwives (LAM) hosted its first professional development workshop on the Maternal Death Surveillance and Response mechanism (MDSR) on Nov 13-14.

The aim was to engage LAM members’ active involvement in recognition and prevention of undesired health outcomes, with reference to the most recent figure of maternal death in the Lao PDR.

Over the last year, with the continued support of UNFPA and Lao Midwife Fund, a group of motivated midwives and midwifery teachers voluntarily came together to strategize and advocate for the establishment of a professional midwifery association.

The vision for the Lao Association of Midwives (LAM) is to be a viable organization that supports the capacity building of midwives within the health system.

LAM is committed to ensure that midwives are appropriately educated, skilled, regulated and supported to provide quality midwifery care across all settings in line with international standards and national context.

The establishment of the LAM filled the gaps in ensuring skilled birth attendance everywhere in the country.

Although the Lao PDR achieved the MDG target of reducing its Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) by three quarters from 1990 levels, and has reduced Adolescent Birth Rate (ABR) to 83 per 1000 live births, its MMR is still high by any standards, and the ABR remains the highest in ASEAN.

This is due to the limited coverage and quality of services, poor nutrition, and low contraceptive use. Midwives have a crucial role to improve all these areas of care for women and girls. The Association can support to empower clinical midwives to perform their roles through building technical capacities based on the scope of practice. This is an important gap to fill as current structure does not include mentoring/coaching in clinical areas.

Since its founding, the LAM prioritized its organization capacity strengthening towards a professional association.

The newly-elected LAM Executive Board and the 7 Regional Representatives have met recently to ratify their constitution and by-laws, and a strategic plan of action is being developed. The momentum has been built for real and lasting progress in meeting the health needs of women in their reproductive years in Laos through further strengthening the midwifery profession.

Participants in the workshop reaffirmed their passion for being midwives. Ms. Southasit, from Champassak province, said that she became a midwife because she saw many mothers died in her community due to causes related to pregnancies.

It has become her goal in life to ensure no mothers die due to such causes. She believes that with the series of workshops LAM will help to equip her and her fellow midwives with skills to save lives.

Globally, a large proportion of maternal and infant deaths can be prevented if proper maternity services are implemented at the right place, right time by competent healthcare providers.

Skilled midwives play a crucial role to ensure safe motherhood and childbirth across the world.

Source: Lao News Agency