A high-ranking Lao official acknowledges that basic healthcare for mothers and children in his country’s rural areas is still very inadequate.
Laos' Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad says health centers are scarce and there are not enough vaccines for the children.
There are currently some 726 clinics providing very basic healthcare to over 10,000 remote villages throughout Laos.
Laos has one of the highest child mortality rates in Southeast Asia. For children less than one-year old, the rate is 70 per 1,000 and 98 per 1,000 for kids under five-years old. The government hopes to improve those rates by 2010, aiming at less than 55 deaths per 1,000 for babies under one, and less than 75 per 1,000 for children under five. Authorities also hope to reduce the mortality rate for pregnant mother from the current 450 per 100,000 to less than 300 per 100,000 in 2010.
But without access to adequate health care and education, realizing that goal is most unlikely.
Listen to our Laos Today report for more details in Lao.