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Table 1 Evolution and chronology of HRH and related issues in the development of a licensing and registration in Lao People’s Democratic Republic

From: The evolution of the national licensing system of health care professionals: a qualitative descriptive case study in Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Year Main policies, strategies, and legislation of the licensing system for health care professionals Description
2005, Dec Law on Health Care (No. 09/NA/2005) [12] The first law that determined the principles, regulations, and measures relating to the organization, activities, management, and control of health care activities.
It defines 16 categories of health care professionals and states the associated requirements and responsibilities.
The role of the Healthcare Professional Council was specified as the “secretariat for the Ministry of Health in administering the activities of health care professionals.”
2006, Dec ASEAN MRA on Nursing Services [19] Recognition, qualifications, and eligibility of foreign nurses were agreed upon by member states.
2007, Jan Ministerial Agreement on the Healthcare Professional Council (No. 033/MOH/2007) [24] The sub-regulation stipulates the details of Article 58 of the Law on Health Care; Rights and duties of the Healthcare Professional Council.
Article 2: The responsibility of the Medical Professionals Council
The Healthcare Professional Council has to be the representative for the Minister:
- To register certificates of those who wish to work as health care practitioners
- To consider professional qualifications of health care professional applicants and bring to the Council committee meeting
- To propose to the Minister of Health the official approval of health care professional certificates
- To propose to the Minister of Health the approval of health care practices for foreign health care workers
- To inspect the implementation of medical ethics and regulations to health care practitioners, particularly prohibited conduct as mentioned in Articles 36 to 43 of the Law on Healthcare
- To supervise and inspect the continuing professional development of health care professionals
2007, Feb Ministerial Agreement on Organize Health care Professional Council (No. 303/MOH/2007) [25] According to the agreement on the organization of the Healthcare Professional Council, the Minister designates the membership of the Council, including the Chairperson, Vice Chairpersons, Commissioners, Secretary-General, and Vice Secretary.
2009, Feb ASEAN MRA on Medical Practitioners [20] Recognition, qualifications, and eligibility of foreign medical practitioners and so on were agreed upon by member states.
  ASEAN MRA on Dental Practitioners [21] Recognition, qualifications, eligibility of foreign dental practitioners and so on were agreed upon by member states.
2011, Oct The VIIth 5-Year Health Sector Development Plan (2011–2015) [39] The 5-year plan aims to provide a clear road map for achieving MDGs and improving the health of the Lao people.
Upgrading the staff’s level in terms of quality and quantity, in line with the Health Personnel Development Strategy, is planned under the Program of Human Resource Development.
2011, Nov Health Personnel Development Strategy by 2020 (No. 831/MOH, Sep 28, 2010) [23] The 10-year strategy aims to develop sufficient number of qualified health care personnel. It consists of the following 5 pillars: (1) health personnel capacity building, (2) utilization of health personnel, (3) health personnel management, (4) equity and equality of opportunity, and (5) health personnel incentives.
Capacity development of the Healthcare Professional Council toward the realization of a licensing and registration system for health care professionals is targeted.
2012 Health Sector Reform Framework Laos 2013–2025 [16] Health sector reform is a process concerning the approaches applied to improve the delivery of health services through existing systems in order to achieve the desired outcome of reaching MDG targets in Phase I (2013–2015) and will contribute to and shape the reform process to achieve UHC in Phases II (2013–2015) and III (2021–2025).
Priority areas are as follows: (1) human resources for health; (2) health financing; (3) governance, management, and coordination; (4) health service delivery; and (5) hospital management and health information systems.
A licensing system, continuing professional development, and capacity development of professional councils are 1 of the objectives.
- Phase I (2013–2015): aims to achieve MDGs and develop a solid foundation for the following phases.
- Phase II (2016–2020): aims to ensure that essential health services of reasonably good quality are accessible and can be utilized by a majority of the population.
- Phase III (2021–2025): aims to achieve UHC.
2012, Jan Ministerial Agreement on the Stationing of New Graduates in Rural Areas (No. 103/MOH/23, Jan, 2012) [31] 3 years of compulsory service in a rural area is recommended for civil servant candidates in order to be eligible for the licensing examination.
2013, Mar Ministerial Agreement on the Organization and Activities of Department of Health Care (No. 695/MOH, 19/Mar/2013) [26] The Office of Healthcare Professionals was established in the Department of Health Care of the MOH to support the activities of the Healthcare Professional Council.
2013, Jun Ministerial Agreement on National Competency for Licensed Nurses in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (No. 1132/MOH, 6 Jun. 2013) [27] The 9 necessary competency domains and indicators for licensed nurses are defined.
2014, Apr Decree on Private Hospitals (No. 151/Gov, 28 Apr. 2014) [22] Holding a health care professional certificate is conditional for health workers who work at a private hospital.
2014, Oct Revised Curriculum for Higher Diploma Nursing Program, based on nursing competencies [30] The competencies are integrated in each relevant subject of the higher diploma nursing program (3 years).
2014, Dec Law on Health Care (amended) (No. 58/NA/2014) [32] Working experience more than 3 years, passed examinations, and a nomination from the Healthcare Professional Council were newly defined conditions for health care professionals.
2015, Jan Ministerial Agreement on Medical Doctor Competencies (No. 095/MOH, 14 Jan. 2015) [28] The necessary competencies for medical doctors are defined and expected to be integrated into the educational curriculum.
2015, Jan Ministerial Agreement on Dentist Competencies (No. 095/MOH, 14 Jan. 2015) [29] The necessary competencies for dentists are defined and expected to be integrated into the educational curriculum.
2015, Jan The VIIIth 5-Year Health Sector Development Plan (2016–2020) (MOH/2015) [33] A project for developing the licensing system for health care professionals is currently planned, and the necessary budget is under request.
2015, Dec Strategy on Healthcare Professional Licensing and Registration System in Lao People’s Democratic Republic 2016–2025 (No. 2098/MOH, 3 Dec. 2015) [23] The 10-year strategy for developing the licensing system specifies its goals, objectives, targets, prioritized actions, and framework.
  1. MOH Ministry of Health, MRA Mutual Recognition Arrangement; UHC universal health coverage