Lao PDR leads Regional Effort to Enhance Pre-service Nutrition Education among Health Professionals in ASEAN

Lao PDR hosted the first consultation meeting among ASEAN member states to discuss and develop standardized curriculum on nutrition for doctors, nurses and midwives in the region.

06 May 2024
The first consultation meeting among ASEAN member states to discuss and develop standardized curriculum on nutrition for doctors, nurses and midwives in the region was held in Lao PDR. Here the delegation from different ASEAN members states post for a group photo together.

Luang Prabang, 06 May 2024 – In a significant step towards bolstering delivery of maternal and child nutrition services across ASEAN members states, Lao PDR hosted the inaugural ASEAN consultation to standardize nutrition pre-service education for health professionals. This landmark meeting, supported by UNICEF, marks a pivotal moment in the collaborative efforts to ensure consistent and high-quality nutrition services across the region.

The consultation, held in Luang Prabang, convened Vice Minister of Health, senior officers from the Ministry of Health, academicians and teaching faculties, experts, and stakeholders from across ASEAN to agree and develop a common nutrition competency framework for pre-service nutrition education for doctors, nurses, and midwives, ensuring that every child and mother receives the best possible care.

Dr. Snong Thongsna, Vice Minister of Health of Lao PDR, highlighted the country's dedication, stating, "Lao PDR's leadership in hosting this consultation underscores our unwavering commitment for nutrition. We recognize the importance of building the capacity of the health work force to deliver quality nutrition services and establishing core nutrition competencies and minimum learning standards for nutrition is essential in the pre-service education of health professionals in Lao PDR as well as across ASEAN.” 

The meeting's discussions aimed to address the current disparities in pre-service nutrition education across ASEAN, with the goal of developing a unified curriculum that can adapt to the diverse needs of the region. The initiative is expected to lead to improved quality of nutrition service delivery, thereby improving nutritional outcomes, health and well-being of women and children.

Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR, applauded the initiative, “Today, I am proud to be part of the start of the ASEAN member states commitment in leading the development of a pre-service nutrition education curriculum for front-line doctors, nurses, and midwives in South East Asia. The minimum standard and guidance will represent a collaborative effort, bringing together the expertise and insights of stakeholders from across the region to develop a comprehensive and standardized approach to nutrition pre-service education of front-lone doctors, nurses, and midwives . It is a major step forward in UNICEF’s mission to improve the health and nutrition of children across the region." 

As the meeting concluded, a draft framework for minimum competencies and standard for a nutrition pre-service education doctors, nurses, and midwives was agreed upon, setting the stage for continuing to move this work forward. Ultimately this groundbreaking ASEAN initiative will result in the development of the ASEAN Guidelines and Minimum Standards for Nutrition Competency-based pre-service Training for Frontline Health Workers, and its implementation. It will make an invaluable contribution to improved nutrition outcomes for children and mothers in the region, contributing to the attainment of the ASEAN commitment to end all forms of malnutrition.  

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