Midwifery students Apsy Kamsing (right) and Panin Chanthavong (left) work as interns at the Xieng Khouang central hospital while earning their diplomas in Lao PDR. Photo Credit: UNFPA Lao PDR/Fatima-Zahra Benyahia

HealthSociety Laos15. February 2024

Are Midwives the Key to Safer Childbirth?

Midwives have recently been in high demand in Laos, as the Southeast Asian country works toward greater protection of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth.

“If every pregnant woman had access to a well-trained, caring midwife, we would be much closer to a world where every childbirth is safe,” says The United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency (UNFPA) Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem.

Laos recently experienced one of the most significant percentage reductions in maternal mortality rate globally, falling by over 250 per cent between 2000 and 2020. The country, however, also sees high levels of adolescent pregnancy, with data from 2017 indicating that within at least one region within the country, one in five women between the ages of 15 and 19 were either pregnant or had already given birth. Midwives themselves help to mitigate various issues, such as critical sexual and reproductive health interventions, support through labour and delivery, family planning decision-making, and the empowerment of women and girls, among others. Trained midwives are also critical to remote and hard-to-reach communities with a shortage of health providers. Lao currently has three internationally accredited midwifery universities, providing jobs and creating a better society for soon-to-be and new mothers.


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