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Developing Strategic Mechanism at District Level in Providing Lao Migrant Female SRH Care and Services

Developing Strategic Mechanism at District Level in Providing Lao Migrant Female SRH Care and Services
Researcher :
Pimpawun Boonmongkon
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Mahidol University

An integrated strategic mechanism has been created at district level to support and promote sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care of Lao female workers. This research project is funded by Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth). Through the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a collaboration to develop health service system between Thailand and Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the project has also helped develop strategic mechanism at provincial and national level. The collaboration is made between Mahidol University (Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Ubon Ratchathani Provincial Health Office, and the health department of Champasak district. Each party supports each other to promote SRH care of Lao ladies living in communities along the Thai-Laos border. One of the project’s key activities is the creation of health navigator program to the community. The program consists of both Thai and Lao volunteers. Health navigators are responsible for providing guidance and consultancy about health, reproductive health, and sexual health to Lao women in the communities as well paying a visit to their home and supporting their access to health service system. Lao women in general still lack access to medical treatments and do not have sufficient knowledge about reproductive health and family planning. Some of them are physically and verbally abused, and discriminated by their employer and husband. Their power in making decisions about their own body is limited such as choosing contraception methods. Their fear of authorities and stigmatization disallow them to get vaccines from state health centers for their children. Health navigator will also act as a middle person to communicate with Lao women in the communities, and organize activities to encourage their participation and reduce their stigma, which brings improvement to their health.

A collaboration between Thailand and Lao People's Democratic Republic has been formed on the development of health service system for the period of 5 years. Based on working under MOU, a number of activities and benefits are created. For example, it forms the strengthening of community organizations, whose members are both Thais and Lao female migrant workers, a group of 39 volunteers named health navigator, and community health centers, which plays the role in promoting health of people in the community. These activities have led to the improvement in life quality of Lao migrant workers along Thai-Laos border area, a structural change to health service system at international level, and a creation of ethnically sensitive service system.
Contact Person :
Ms. Kunakorn Kanchawee
Faculty of Social sciences and Humanities, Mahidol University
+ 668 2783 3769