New Government Survey Unlocks Deeper Insights into Situation of Children in Lao PDR

LSIS-III aims to provide quality baseline data for monitoring and to inform the country’s National Socio-Economic Plan as well as supporting the Lao Government in evidence-based policymaking related to women and children’s welfare.

25 January 2024
Official ceremony to unveil the Key Indicators Report for the Lao Social Indicators Survey III (LSIS III).
UNICEF Lao PDR/2024/GYim

Vientiane, 25 January 2024 - The Lao Statistics Bureau (LSB), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Sports, UNICEF, UNFPA and a host of international partners such as the European Union, USAID and DFAT, has together unveiled the key indicators from the Lao Social Indicator Survey III (LSIS-III) today. This pivotal survey provides the first set of national data on the welfare of children and women in Lao PDR post-COVID-19 as well as essential insights into the social development strides and challenges within the country.

LSIS is a nationwide household survey that is undertaken once every five years in Lao PDR. Like its predecessor LSIS-II, LSIS-III aims to provide quality baseline data for monitoring and to inform the country’s National Socio-Economic Plan as well as supporting the Lao Government in evidence-based policymaking related to women and children’s welfare. The data captured by LSIS-III cover key areas such as child and maternal health, mortality rates, nutrition, child protection, early childhood development, education, water and sanitation and HIV/AIDs alongside among other important areas.

As the first national set of data produced since the outbreak of COVID-19, LSIS-III most notably helps to shed light on how the lives of women and children were affected by the pandemic, including the ensuing school closures and other restrictions that were implemented, to the pandemic’s toll on the delivery of health services.

"Findings from LSIS-III are invaluable for the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan, enabling us to monitor and measure our progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those related" said Mme. Phonesaly Souksavath, Head of the Lao Statistics Bureau. "These results form a robust foundation for data-driven policy making and program development."

Data from LSIS-III demonstrates overall significant progress in areas such as child mortality reduction, improvements in maternal health, and advancements in education and access to clean water. However, it also highlights persistent disparities in healthcare and educational access across various demographics.

Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR, highlighted the importance of utilizing data to better improve the lives of children and families across Lao PDR. "UNICEF is proud of our role in supporting evidence-based policymaking in Lao PDR through LSIS-III and its previous iterations. The new dataset will play an essential role and help point us towards areas of child well-being and development needing urgent attention in the post-COVID-19 context,” said the UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR. “I would like to applaud the Lao government for their leadership in conducting LSIS-III and express my profound appreciation to all our partners who have played a crucial role in the success of LSIS-III,” she added.

LSIS-III was the result of the efforts of over 173 trained field officers from the Government Office of Statistics alongside the Public Health and Education and Sports, surveying more than 21,000 households nationwide to ensure a comprehensive and representative dataset.

Key indicators from the survey include:

  • Relatively high literacy rates among young adults, with 82.1 per cent of women and 86.3 per cent of men aged 15-24 being literate.
  • 9.1 per cent of children live without either parent, highlighting a need for robust child welfare policies.
  • Neonatal mortality stands at 12 deaths per 1,000 live births, with an under-five mortality rate of 28 per 1,000.
  • In maternal and reproductive health, 17.4 per cent of women aged 20-24 gave birth before 18, and 64 per cent of newborns receive postnatal care within the first two days.
  • 47.0 per cent of children aged 12-23 months received all basic vaccinations and 37 per cent of children aged 24-35 months received all vaccinations recommended in the national immunization schedule. 
  • A 58 per cent incidence of diarrhoea in children under five were treated by health facility providers.
  • 50.6 per cent of children being exclusively breastfed for six months.
  • Educationally, 26.9 per cent of children age 36-59 months are enrolled in early childhood education.
  • In terms of protection from violence, 62.3 per cent of children aged 1-14 experience violent discipline, and 30.5 per cent of women marry before 18.
  • 87 per cent of households have access to improved water sources, but only 25.9 per cent use safely managed drinking water.

Following these initial indicators, UNICEF will continue to support LSB in publishing the findings, microdata and promoting evidence-based policymaking. The full LSIS III report will be released later this year with disaggregated data by age, residence, sex, wealth quintile and ethnicity, offering a nuanced understanding of Laos's current social landscape.

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Notes for editors:

LSIS data is generated by the MICS methodology which has been used for over two decades by governments, the UN and partners around the world to prioritise support for those most in need. Learn more here: https://mics.unicef.org/

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