Target: Laos Prime Minister, Thongsing Thammavong
Goal: Improve reproductive care accessibility in Laos
Laos has the highest death rate for new born infants and mothers in labor in Southeast Asia. The mortality rate for mothers is 357 out of 100,000, and 76 out of 1,000 babies die within 28 days of birth. It is a multifaceted problem that needs to be addressed.
Due to poor infrastructure, mothers from the rural outreaches of the country don’t have easy access to a medical facility. Transportation is under-developed, which compounds this problem. One out of five people don’t have access to roads, and these factors have deterred them from seeking professional medical help. According to the United Nations Population Fund Lao’s director for sexual and reproductive health, women would have to walk for days and cross rivers in order to reach a hospital. These families usually have to use their tractor to reach a hospital, but a majority of these women end up giving birth at home without a trained midwife.
In addition, medical care costs are too expensive for low income families. This is especially true for rural folk. The national average monthly income is around $116 US and even less for rural areas. Although the cost of giving birth is completely subsidized, medical consumables like pain killers and other medication are not covered. There is also a minimal out of pocket cost for each patient, which is a significant strain on their meager budgets. Rural families sometimes have to resort to liquidating their farm assets to meet this payment. Again, families are deterred from seeking professional medical help.
As a result, many families turn to traditional medicine, which is a more accessible and cheaper alternative. However, traditional medicine is inadequate when birth complications arise. This scenario usually has tragic consequences for both the mother and the infant. Relying on traditional medicine is also inadequate for other serious diseases like HIV, cancer, diabetes, etc.
Sign this petition to urge Prime Minister, Thongsing Thammavong to do more to increase the accessibility and affordability of reproductive health care for all income levels by tackling these issues.
Dear Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong,
Your country is last in your region for providing adequate reproductive care. Accommodations must be made for the poor in order to increase accessibility and affordability of health care in general. These higher mortality rates for mothers in labor and new born infants are a result of preventable deaths due to this inadequacy. Infrastructure and transportation needs to be improved so mothers can easily access hospitals from rural communities or build medical facilities with trained personnel near the outer reaches of your country. Lastly, you should make an effort in educating your citizens about the limitations of traditional medicine and about reproductive health in general.
Healthcare should be a human right, and the poor should not be excluded. Please do your best to increase government spending in these inadequate sectors.
[Your Name Here]
Image Credit: Just feel so via Flickr