country profile on universal access to sexual and reproductive health: lao PDR


The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is a landlocked, mountainous and forested country and became a land linked country since 1997 as member of ASEAN, with estimated population of 6.6 million in 2012 (Lao Statistics Bureau, 2013), 59% of the population were children and young people below the age of 25 years. The majority of population lives in the rural areas (71%), including 8.9% who live in rural areas without road access. The annual population growth rate for Lao PDR is around 2.1% (Ministry of Health & Lao Statistics Bureau, 2012).

The country is ethnically diverse, having 49 official ethnic groups with different 167 ethnic subgroups. There are four major ethno-linguistic branches are the Lao-Tai (68 per cent of the total), Mon-Khmer (22%), Hmong-Lu Mien (7%) and Sino-Tibetan (3% of the total population). The ethnic groups are marked by different cultures, and traditions (King et al., 2010). The health outcomes have been improving, as reflected in improving life expectancy at birth for both sexes from 53 to 66 years between 1990 and 2012 (51 to 64 years for men and 54 to 67 years for women (WHO, 2014).

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asia lao PDR

Sychareun Vanphanom, Phengsavanh Alongkone, Hansana Visanou