Signing of Record of Discussions on Technical Cooperation Project with Laos: Supporting the creation of a licensing system for healthcare professionals toward achieving Universal Health Coverage

signing ceremony

On December 7, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a Record of Discussions with the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Vientiane for the Project for Sustainable Development and Quality Assurance of Health Care Professionals, a technical cooperation project.

So that better health services can be provided in Laos, the project will create a licensing system for healthcare professionals, i.e., medical doctors, midwives and nurses, support the introduction of a national examination, particularly for nurse licenses, and improve the training implementation system with the aim at improving the quality of healthcare professionals.

The World Health Organization defines 4.45 health professionals per 1,000 population as the minimum required health workforce for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.With 0.8 health professionals per 1,000 population as of 2013 [1], Laos as a whole has a shortage, and there is also a disparity in the numbers between the capital and outlying areas. In addition, there are challenges in the quality of health professionals. In particular, the lack of a licensing system to ensure quality human resources, the current development status of programs at educational institutions and unsystematic post-graduate training content have resulted in a disparity in the capacity of graduates. As such, improvements are a priority in Laos. Against this background, the Government of Laos has made strengthening health professional training a priority toward universal health coverage [2] in a policy paper in the health sector.

JICA has provided other assistance to the Laos such as in formulating a licensing system strategy and guidelines for the scope of nursing work, and in measures for training healthcare professionals. Based on the licensing system strategy, the project will assist in setting up a licensing system that will be managed by the newly established Healthcare Professional Council. The project will also support the creation of a training system for updating license registrations, and contribute to efforts in training healthcare professionals by the Ministry of Health of Laos.

[Basic project information]
Country Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Project title The Project for Sustainable Development and Quality Assurance of Health Care Professionals
Planned implementation period May 2018 to April 2023
Executing agency Ministry of Health of Laos
Target region, facilities Throughout Laos
Specific project details (provisional) Establishment of a licensing system for healthcare professionals, introduction of a national licensing examination for nurses, improvements in the nurse training system