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Services by Sector: Health-Related and Social Services

 

A.OVERVIEW OF THE HEALTH AND RELATED SOCIAL SERVICES SECTOR IN THE LAO PDR

Background Information

The Health and related Social Services Sector represents one of the fastest growing services sector globally that leverages advancements and opportunities created by developments in interlinked services such as tourism and communications.

The WTO classifies this services sector to include:

  • Health and social services includes hospital services (i.e. health services delivered under the supervision of doctors),
  • Other health services (i.e. ambulance services and residential health facilities),
  • Social services, and
  • “Other” health and social services.

It is important to note however that this sector does not include medical and dental services, veterinary services and the services provided by nurses and midwives. These services, along with others are classified under “professional services”.

The Government and people of Lao PDR recognise the importance of this sector, both in relation to its contribution to the health and productivity of its people and workforce and further as a revenue generating mechanism, particularly in respect of foreign exchange. The infusion of technological advancements to the various sub sectors has revolutionized the sector and creates many opportunities for the further development of the sector and business venture prospects for potential investors and service providers.

B. KEY IMPERATIVES AND INFORMATION FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS AND INVESTORS

I.Legal and Regulatory Environment of the Health and Related Social Services Sector

The legal and regulatory environment governing the health and related social services sector in Lao PDR, regulates the quality and various types of services provided, ensuring that best practices and international standards are infused and maintained. This is done through the provision of oversight and management functions by key regulatory institutions, which ensure the adherence to sector specific and related laws and policies.

II.Regulatory Entities governing the Health and Related Social Services Sector  

The Ministry of Health represents the primary authority and has responsibility for the regulation of the health and related social services sector.

The Ministry is supported by the other agencies including:

  • Health Division in Provinces;
  • Health Office in Districts and Municipalities;
  • Health Protection Committee in villages;
  • The Food Administration Organization;
  • The National Assembly;
  • The State Inspection Organization;
  • The Government Inspection and Anti-Corruption Organization;
  • The National Front for Construction;
  • The Mass Organizations; and
  • The Media.

III.Sector Associations and Professional Bodies

Key Sector Associations include:

  • Medial Health Profession Council
  • The Food and Drug Administrative Committee
  • Consumer Protection Association

IV.Legislation (Laws and Regulations) governing the Health and Related Social Services Sector

Relevant legislations which impact the Health and Related Social Services Sector include:

PRIMARY LEGISLATION

SECONDARY LEGISLATION

Decrees

Policy

Law on Health Care 58/NA

Decree on Private Hospital 151/GO

National Food Safety Policy 020/MOH

Law on Hygiene, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (Amended) 08/NA

Law on Food (Amended) 33/NA

Decree on National Health Insurance 470/GO

 

 

 

 

International and Regional Commitments in respect of the Private Health and related Social Services Sector

Key agreements for which Lao PDR made commitments in respect of the private health and social services sector are:

  • WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS);
  • ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (9TH Package of Commitments); and
  • ASEAN Agreement on the Movement of Natural Persons

WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

Under the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services, the scope of private health related and social services concerns only fully-privately funded services and covers:

  • Private hospital services (Modern hospital with more than 100 beds in big cities only) (part of CPC 93110)

In relation to limitations on market access in respect of these services, Lao PDR is unbound under mode 1, cross border supply of services, but has placed no limitations in respect of modes 2 and 3, consumption abroad and the establishment of a commercial presence respectively.

Specific to mode 4, Lao PDR is unbound, except for executives and

managers as per conditions in the horizontal section.

In respect of limitations on national treatment for these services, Lao PDR is unbound under mode 1 and placed no limitations in respect of mode 2. Specific to mode 3, Lao PDR is unbound and for mode 4, Lao PDR is also unbound, except for executives and managers as per conditions in the horizontal section.

ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (9TH Package of Commitments)

The scope of services under this Agreement covers:

  • Medical and Dental services (CPC 9312);
    • General and Medical services (CPC 93121)
    • Specialized Medical services (CPC 93122); and
  • Private hospital services (Hospital with more than 100 beds and modern facilities only) (Part of CPC 93110)

 

For Medical and Dental services (CPC 9312), which includes General and Medical services (CPC 93121) and Specialized Medical services (CPC 93122), the Lao PDR placed no limitations (both in respect of market access and national treatment) on the provision of services under modes 1 and 2 (cross border supply of services and consumption abroad respectively).

In relation to providing these services under mode 3, no limitations have been placed on market access, except for clinics with foreign equity participation, which must be limited to 49% of foreign equity share.

 No limitations have been placed on national treatment.

In respect of Private hospital services (Hospital with more than 100 beds and modern facilities only) (Part of CPC 93110), there were no limitations placed on market access and national treatment for providing these services for modes 1, 2 and 3.

ASEAN Agreement on the Movement of Natural Persons

Under this agreement, commitments have only been made in respect of Private Hospital services - Hospital with more than 100 beds and modern facilities only (Part of CPC 93110). As it relates to limitations on market access, no sector specific commitments were made, however horizontal commitments apply and are to be based on specific project cooperation agreement. In relation to limitations on national treatment, no sector-specific commitments were made, but horizontal commitments apply.