Health & disabilities    

Improved health is not just one of the benefits of sustainable development - it is a prerequisite. Vulnerability to disease is one of the most formidable obstacles faced by populations trying to escape the cycle of poverty and resource depletion. Therefore it is by no means astonishing that health is strongly reflected in the catalogue of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), at least three of which explicitly refer to health and well being. In the Lao PDR the Government, in close collaboration with international development partners, is dedicated to reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, and combating the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and so on.

Information relevant for guiding these strategies is becoming more and more available to the Lao PDR from different sources and surveys which cover a variety of topics and spatial scales. It was neither the duty nor the intention of the National Population and Housing Census of 2005 to provide key health data for decision-makers. Nevertheless, as the demographic projections of a census necessitate fertility and mortality data, some of the topics may still be relevant to health issues. It was, therefore, decided to assemble some of the Census indicators in the present section on health and disabilities. With this we hope to provide information which will complement that from other sources. Also we expect to add value mainly by depicting the spatial patterns across the country. Furthermore, the following section capitalises on Census information on the position of health centres and on people with disabilities.

Finally it should be recalled that this atlas also contains other information that may be relevant to readers interested in health issues. This does not only concern the general topics of demography, (Section B), migration (Section C) or poverty (Section I), but in addition and more specifically the different accessibility maps (Maps A.5 and A.6), as well as the maps on access to clean water and environmental sanitation (Maps H.4 and H.5 respectively).