The Government of Australia and UNICEF Scale up Their Support to the COVID-19 Response in Laos
Vientiane, 23 November 2020 – UNICEF Lao PDR today handed over IT equipment including six video conference kits, laptops, TVs and speakers to the National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children (NCAWMC) as part of the support to the Government of Lao PDR to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. These supplies have been provided with funding from the Government of Australia through DFAT.
“The Lao Government was swift in enacting a nationwide lockdown early in the outbreak and quick to implement other measures like proactive public communication, helping ensure only 25 recorded cases to date. However, the fight against COVID-19 is not over. The equipment handed over today will ensure smooth communication and coordination between the national and provincial authorities to respond better to the pandemic,” said H.E. Alounkeo Kittikhoun, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office and Vice President of the NCAWMC.
The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled lives across the world. Here in Lao PDR, life came to a complete halt during the lockdown. Schools were closed, having an impact on the learning journey of over 1.4 million students; and supply chains and immunization infrastructure were also affected putting children at risk as vaccination coverage decreased. Moreover, increased stress levels among families led to rising domestic violence. Adding to this, the restricted mobility of frontline workers led to disruptions in service delivery in communities across all sectors.
“It is a great honor for the Government of Australia to help the Government of Lao PDR and the most vulnerable children in these challenging times. We remain committed to improve the lives of every child in Laos and will continue work hand in hand with UNICEF and other partners to reach those in need,” stated Ms. Anna Dyason, Acting Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy, Lao PDR.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a serious health and social crisis for Lao PDR as well as for other countries around the world, with women and girls from low-income families being particularly vulnerable to its impact. The loss of employment, lack of access to information, healthcare and social services have heightened the risks for them to become victims of violence, exploitation, neglect, abuse and trafficking.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of many children in Lao PDR. Now more than ever they need our support. We are committed to continue supporting the Government through the NCAWMC to ensure that no child is left behind that is why we are working towards strengthening the child protection system.,” said Dr. Pia Britto, Representative of UNICEF Lao PDR.
Since the onset of the pandemic, UNICEF has supported the Government of Lao PDR in supplying critical supplies, including medical equipment, hygiene and recreational kits for children in institutional care, and PPE for frontline social workers.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.