Speeches Shim

USAID Nurture promotes community-designed and community-led activities to improve the nutritional status of mothers and children and household hygiene and sanitation.
USAID/Richard Nyberg


Laos experiences some of the highest rates of child and maternal mortality and malnutrition in Southeast Asia. The last 20 years in Laos have shown a reduction in overall maternal mortality from 796 to 357 deaths per 100,000 live births and a reduction in infant mortality rates from 104 to 68 deaths per 1,000 live births.However, significant challenges remain in strengthening the quality and coverage of services to save the lives of mothers and children. Additionally, Lao children are some of Asia’s most undernourished, with national rates of stunting (height for age) at 44 percent and 27 percent of children underweight.

Program Interventions

In response to these unmet needs, USAID expanded its existing health portfolio in 2014 to include new assistance to Laos for the procurement and distribution of nutrition and therapeutic commodities. This assistance allows the Government of Laos to fill a critical gap in micronutrient supplements to help address malnutrition nationwide in the most vulnerable populations—children and pregnant and lactating women.

In early 2016, we launched our USAID Nurture project to contribute to a reduction in young child stunting in targeted areas of Laos. This three-year, multi-million dollar project works to improve community and household nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene practices to reach the most vulnerable populations: mothers and children in the first 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday. Intervention during this critical window of time offers a unique opportunity to help improve the health of children in Laos.

Last updated: September 29, 2021

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