International Partners Strengthens the Government of Lao PDR’s COVID-19 Pandemic Response
UNICEF with the Assistance from the European Union (EU), The Government of Ireland and the Government of Japan
Vientiane, 16 October – UNICEF Lao PDR today handed over health supplies with a combined total value of USD $1,163,860 to the Ministry of Health (MoH) to strengthen the Government of Lao PDR’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Procured with funding from the EU, the Government of Ireland and the Government of Japan, these health supplies consist of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, face shields, gloves and goggles, alongside oxygen therapy equipment, including oxygen concentrators, medical ventilators, oxygen analysers, pulse oximeters and oxygen nasal prongs for both adults and children.
“We have managed to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Lao PDR so far thanks to the support of our partners but it is crucial to further strengthen preparedness measures and equip ourselves with the right tools to respond should there be another wave. These supplies will certainly help us to better treat potential new cases,” said the Minister of Health, H.E. Dr. Bounkong Syhavong.
The PPE and oxygen therapy equipment will be distributed to key departments within MoH, including the Department of Healthcare and the Department of Hygiene and Health Protection, and will significantly enhance the pandemic response capacity of the Government of Lao PDR by enabling frontline health workers in hospitals and primary healthcare facilities to safely carry out their duties by minimizing risks of cross-contamination between health workers and patients.
“It is a great honour for the European Union to help strengthen the Government of Lao PDR’s capacity to respond to the pandemic. The coronavirus pandemic has and still continues to impact us and our partners, our citizens and economies. We, therefore stand by the Lao people to help Laos respond to the threat of coronavirus and address longer-term health and socio-economic needs.” stated Ms. Ina Marčiulionytė, Ambassador of the European Union to Lao PDR.
The Ambassador of Ireland to Lao PDR, John McCullagh, explained that the Government of Ireland is proud to support Lao Government efforts to strengthen its COVID-19 response. “COVID-19 is putting unprecedented pressure on healthcare systems across the world. Health-care workers are at the centre of the fight against COVID 19. Ensuring that they have adequate PPE is essential to safeguard their health and by extension, the health and safety of others”
The oxygen therapy equipment provided will play a critical role in enhancing the capacity of health facilities and hospitals in Lao PDR for treating patients during the pandemic.20 per cent of COVID-19 cases will require oxygen therapy and two to three per cent of COVID-19 cases will require medical ventilators to ensure that COVID-19 patients receive an adequate supply of oxygen.
Mr. Keiichi Iwamoto, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of Japan to Lao PDR, said in his speech “The oxygen therapy items funded by the Government of Japan show the strong commitment of the People from Japan to support the Government of Lao PDR. The COVID-19 is a threat to all of us and, thus, we all have to join hands if we want to be successful.”
“These supplies are critical to prevent and respond to COVID-19 and we would like to thank our partners for their contribution. The efforts to win the battle against the pandemic have to be accompanied by actions to strengthen the health system in Laos as this will contribute to maintain hard-fought gains in the area of children’s health and survival”, explained Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative, while adding that UNICEF is committed to giving every child the best start in life, to grow and develop to their full potential.
UNICEF is firmly committed to strengthening its working partnership with the Government of Lao PDR to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and to supporting Lao PDR’s pandemic response.
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About the European Union
The European Union is a friend to the Lao government and people since 1975, working together for good governance, greater shared prosperity and an inclusive society. For more information about us, visit https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/lao-pdr_en
To date, Ireland has allocated over €123 million to the global COVID-19 response, providing €46.5 million to enable its partners – the UN, WHO, NGOs and partner countries – to respond directly to COVID-19 on the ground, as well as fast-tracking €76.8 million of other funding to partners to help them to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. Ireland has also made an additional pledge of €18 million for GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, for the period 2021-25.
Ireland is committed to support Government of Lao PDR’s efforts to combat Covid-19 and strengthen healthcare system in the country
About the Government of Japan
Japan has provided technical assistance and medical materials through international organizations worth approximately $ 4 million to the Government of Laos, as well as grant assistance for medical devices valued around $ 13.76 million, with an aim to control the spread of COVID-19. This year marks the 65th anniversary of Japan-Laos diplomatic relations and the 5th anniversary of the bilateral strategic partnership. Japan, as a strategic partner of Lao PDR continues supporting the efforts of the Government of Laos to overcome this difficult situation.
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.