Governance, Policies, and Procedures for Health Research

Governance of Health Research

Overall Governance and Organization Structures for Health Research

‘Health research and training management’ is one of the six workplans, Ministry of Health uses to implement its health sector strategy namely: 1) health promotion and disease prevention; 2) curative and rehabilitation; 3) provision of essential drug and protection of consumers rights; 4) human resources for health development; 5) health research and training management, 6) health economic and administration work plans.

Five-year National Health Research master plans (NHRMP) have been developed since 1992. The last five-year plan- or the Fourth NHRMP was implemented from 2007-2011. 

In 2013, Ministry of Health established Department of Training and Research to enhance promotion and overall management of health research.

In August 2014, The Department of Training and Health research published a Strategy on the promotion and management of health research by 2020. This strategy has six key components:

1. Research Governance;

2. Capacity Development of Researchers;

3. Defining and Implementing Research Priorities;

4. Dissemination and Application of Research Outcomes;

5. Seeking Funding Sources and Mobilization for Health Research;

6. Monitoring and Evaluation of Research Strategy

In addition to this strategy, National Assembly endorsed the Law on Science and Technology on 19 July 2013 and Presidential Decree was issued on August 2013. A decree on Science and Technology Development Fund was endorsed by government on 23 May 2014.

Key Research Institutions in Lao PDR:

Lao Tropical and Public Health Institute (Formely National Institute of Public Health)

Ministry of Health established the Lao Tropical and Public Health Institute (Lao TPHI) in 2017 by merging the National Institute of Public Health (NIOPH) and the Francophony Institute for Tropical Medicine. The Lao TPHI serves as a 1st technical body of Ministry of Health in promoting, managing, and conducting health research and building human resource for health management and tropical medicine and international health.  Today, Lao TPHI comprises of 5 departments with 30 executive staffs including a Director General, 1 Deputy Directors General, 24 technical and 6 administrative staffs.

Its vision is to achieve significant improvements of people health and health system through excellence in research and training

Strategic goals of Lao TPHI:

  • To improve the people health status through a better understanding of public health disease priorities in the country;
  • To create national leadership in research by providing a short and long term training for health institutions in Lao PDR at all levels as needed;
  • To serve the research findings to Ministry of Health (MoH) for policy making in order to improve the health system in the country;
  • To collaborate with internal and external institutions for strengthening research capacity

University of Health Sciences (UHS):

The University of Health Sciences is one of five Universities in Lao PDR, established as a separate university in 2007 after being a faculty in the National University before that. There are about 420 teaching staff plus 200 clinical teachers in health facilities. It now has 4,500 students in 7 faculties including more than 200 in post-graduate studies. As a university, UHS implements health research and it also organizes the only Master's in Public Health course in the country. The university has its own ethics review committee to provide ethical oversight of the research conducted by its students and faculty.

Institut Pasteur du Laos (IPL):

Institut Pasteur du Laos (IPL) is a Lao National Institution created by Prime Ministerial Decree in November 2007

IPL is the result of a long term and joint decision between Lao Ministry of Health and Institut Pasteur Paris which commits to stay 16 years before retroceding the full management of IPL. Sustainability will be achieved by preparing a new generation of Lao doctors and scientists to fill key positions as heads of laboratories and administration at IPL.

IPL has a mandate from Lao Ministry of Health to fulfil activities of public service :
1. Research and diagnostic on emerging infectious diseases and vector borne diseases
2. Training, Education and Capacity building
3. Technical assistance to National Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology ( NCLE) for investigation of epidemics

Other important health research initiatives in Laos:

National Health Research Forums (NHRF):

National Istitute of Public Health has been organizing annual NHRF since 2007 as part of the  4th Five-Year National Health Research Master plan (2007-2011) to support the health research system strengthening in Lao PDR. The ninth NHRF is being planned in October 2015 as a two-days event. NHRF are mainly supported by external partners. Researchers from both Laos and neighboring countries, and external research partners participate in the forum as well the policy makers from the Laos PDR. The total number of participants may range from 150 to 170 each year.

Lao Medical Journal (LMJ):

University of Health Sciences launched the first  biennial  scientific health and medicine journal in September 2010, intended to be published biennially in Lao language with the abstracts translated into English. The journal has been set up with support and assistance from the University of Tokyo, Japan, and the Wellcome Trust-Mahosot Hospital-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Collaboration, UK.