chapter  23
10 Pages

Mental health in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic: Some secured changes Chantharavady Choulamany

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia bordered by China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar, with an area of 236,800 square kilometres. The plains region comprises large and small plains along the Mekong River. The country is crossed by many rivers and streams.36 Around 70 per cent of the country is mountainous, with the most fertile land along the Mekong plains. The population was estimated at 6,514,432, with a density of 28 persons per square kilometre in 2012 37 and an average household size of 5.9 people. Life expectancy is the lowest in Southeast Asia: life expectancy at birth for males is 62 years and for females is 64 years. The infant mortality rate is 42 per 1,000 live births and the under-five mortality rate is 79 per 1,000 live births, while the maternal mortality rate stands at 405 per 100,000 live births.12 About 77 per cent of the population live in rural areas. The adult literacy rate is 73 per cent.38