The Government of Laos accorded high priority to the improvement of the health status of the population. Primary Health Care (PHC) was identified as the most cost-effective approach to provide basic health services. The Government approved a PHC policy aimed to (i) expanding and improving the quality of PHC in the northern region, and (ii) strengthening the institutional capacity for PHC. The Project targeted women and children, ethnic minorities, and the rural poor by (i) increasing their physical, social, and financial access to essential services; (ii) focusing on interventions and diseases that affect them disproportionally; and (iii) improving the quality of services for these groups. The Project gave priority to cost-effective interventions benefiting women and children, including health promotion, reproductive health care, the prevention and treatment of common infections and micronutrient deficiencies, and first referral services.
In the scope of the project EPOS provided technical assistance to the Government of Laos for the improvement of the health status of the population by making a basic package of health care (PHC) available and the restructuring of the Ministry of Health.
For PHC Management four modules were developed (Planning and Budgeting, Financial Management, Coordination and Supervision, Monitoring & Evaluation) and 13 staff members trained as training teams for all northern provinces. Subsequently 377 staff persons in health centers and at village levels were trained in those modules.
In addition four Project Management Office (PMO) systems were developed (filing, documenting & tracking of capital equipment, procurement, monitoring and tracking of administrative actions for PMO) and staff trained in the implementation. SOP's and job descriptions for PHC managers were developed and M&E tools implemented.
Two health financing studies were conducted: a hospital cost recovery and a village drug revolving fund study. The first study included a baseline survey in 200 villages which was the first major scientific survey conducted in Laos to establish baseline indicators of the health status, health service use and household expenditures.
For appropriate training and manpower development several forms and tracking tools were developed and implemented. The review and assessment of existing training activities resulted in modifications of training curricula and methodologies, of training materials and in re-training of trainers.
At central level technical assistance was given for the preparation of annual operational plans and budgets. A system for replenishment of Imprest Account, for tracking administrative actions and a project management manual were developed.