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New Law Promises Bright Future for Healthcare in Laos

Source: Vientiane Times

The Ministry of Health has adopted the 2023 Law on Health, marking an important legislative milestone in providing better quality healthcare services across the country.

The adoption was attested by Acting World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative Dr. Tim Armstrong, alongside officials from ministries, international organisations, hospitals, and other key partners.

At the same time, Minister of Health Dr Bounfeng Phoummalaysith delivered a message to mark World Health Day 2024, which is observed annually on April 7.

“Today marks a significant occasion for the Lao health system as we celebrate the adoption of the 2023 Law on Health. This comprehensive law establishes a clear framework for all public health functions, establishes new entities to better coordinate and deliver health services, and paves the way for enhanced health legislation in the future,” Dr Bounfeng said.

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The new law highlights the critical role of legislation in ensuring the right to health for all, he added.

This landmark legislation creates a powerful platform for health and guarantees access to essential public health services for all Lao citizens. It will also ensure proper investment in healthcare through the government and private sector.

Importantly, it promotes multisector and internal health collaboration, and clarifies the roles of key healthcare organisations, Dr Bounfeng said.

Dr Armstrong added “Seventy-five years ago, WHO placed the right to health at the centre of its health mission. Health for all and the right to health are intertwined; we cannot achieve our health goals without the appropriate legislation. I commend the Ministry of Health for their successful progress in this area, particularly around the new Law on Health.”

The Law on Health, endorsed in July 2023, ensures that all aspects of essential public health functions and health services from preventive measures to rehabilitation services are effectively addressed.

It clearly defines areas of responsibility and the types of services within the health sector to improve service delivery and accountability. Core services include hygiene, disease control, healthcare delivery, and rehabilitation.

Supporting services include crucial areas like medication management, research, health education, and health information systems.

The Law on Health also strengthens existing health-related laws under one comprehensive framework and paves the way for enhanced health legislation in the future.

Furthermore, the law establishes the Council of Public Health Sciences and the Public Health Association, crucial bodies that will provide technical expertise and foster collaboration within the health sector.

Since 2021, the Ministry of Health has made significant progress on health-sector law development. In addition to the newly launched Law on Health, the ministry is updating the Law on Health Insurance and Law on Medicines and Medical Products, with support from WHO and other development partners.