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Laos Poverty & Rural Health Enhancement Project

Research on community health has been conducted that is based in the pilot area of the Sepone district of Savannakhet Province, a designated poor rural area in Laos. Concurrently, health services are being provided to residents and community health enhanced with support from the Asia Health and Education Fund (AHEF). This region is inhabited by ethnic minorities, where it is estimated that the mortality rate for children under five is much higher than that for the Lao population. It is a region marked by a unique culture and society. The district lies near the border with Vietnam and it has been 10 years since the Asian Highway went through across the district. In recent years, there has been a pronounced increase in mine development and rubber plantations as well as other industry prompting rapid changes in the work performed by local residents. Mobile telephone connections across the region has strengthened communication between health centers and village health workers selected by residents, which has been successful in dramatically improving reports of vital events and other information. The Department of Global Health is also making an effort to strengthen the training of currently appointed staff at the province health bureau and health centers, and has also been conducting research on health personnel management. Moreover, these experiences are currently being expanded into regional health research on maternal and child health as well as malaria controls.

    Photo with the staff of the Sepone District Health Center

   Researcher Nishimoto interviewing a mother

Research on Maternal and Child Health

The Department of Global Health is cooperating with the Laos Ministry of Health’s National Institute of Public Health and the Nursing Department of the University of Health Science to commence research on maternal and child health. Mountain tribes account for 75% of residents in the Sepone District of Savannakhet Province. Also, compared to other regions, the percentage of male health volunteers in villages is much higher, giving this region a strong social and cultural influence with regard to gender. In Laos where there is currently a high rate of mortality among expectant and nursing mothers as well as children under five, improvement of health services for mothers and children is a pressing issue, so the Department is planning to pursue research that focuses not only on care right around the time of childbirth, but also broadens the perspective to consider the times before and after delivery as well as participatory learning for women themselves.


Nonprofit Organization Asia Health and Education Fund

Professor Kobayashi serves as the Laos director on the board of the Asia Health and Education Fund.

The Fund’s activities are administered to contribute to self-sustaining development of health and education for people by providing the cooperation and advice necessary for training personnel engaged principally in health, hygiene, nursing and medicine through the provision of educational funds, money for training current personnel and funds necessary for development of the educational infrastructure, including medical facilities and schools under a partnership with administrative institutions and other organizations. These activities are based on field research in Asian regions where people require assistance.

Link <http://www.ahef.jp/