Vehicles supported by Australia & UNICEF to improve rural access to health services

16 February 2024
Tek Tek photo 1
UNICEF Laos/2024

Houaphanh Province, 16 February 2024 – In a significant boost to healthcare services in Lao PDR, the Australian Government in partnership with UNICEF has provided 32 small trucks to the Government of Lao PDR. These vehicles are a cornerstone in the Lao strategy to enhance healthcare accessibility and ensure health services are delivered in an integrated and equitable manner year-round. More specifically, the vehicles are set to transform the delivery of routine and COVID-19 vaccines, alongside essential health services for mothers and children in the most vulnerable populations and hard-to-reach areas, especially during rainy seasons.

The handover of the vehicles was marked by a ceremony in Viengxay District of Houaphanh Province during the Annual Health Review of 2023 and Health Planning for 2024 Meeting, attended by H.E. Dr. Bounfeng Phoummalaysith, Minister of Health, alongside Dr. Khampheng Saysompheng, Governor of Houaphanh Province.

H.E. Dr. Bounfeng Phoummalaysith, Minister of Health, expressed his deep appreciation for the support from the Australian Government and UNICEF. "We highly value this assistance from UNICEF and the Australian Government,” said H.E. Dr. Bounfeng Phoummalaysith. “The new vehicles will expand access to healthcare services throughout the country and help us overcome the geographical challenges in delivering these life-saving services to the most vulnerable."

The new vehicles will be distributed to 32 health centres throughout 15 provinces of the country. With its ease of operation and four-wheel drive functionality, the vehicles will especially be useful for local health workers in reaching out to vulnerable communities during the rainy season, thus ensuring year-round access to healthcare services.

“The Australian Government is proud to be supporting the Lao PDR’s ambition in ensuring access to health services for all, regardless of where they may be in the country,” stated H.E. Megan Jones, Australian Ambassador to Lao PDR. The vehicles were provided by Australia to the Government of Lao PDR under the Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative and are worth around AUD 367,000 in total (approximately USD 245,000).

Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR, also highlighted the significance of the assistance. "Beyond facilitating healthcare delivery, this assistance is a testament to our commitment to innovative solutions for system strengthening. It is about building a resilient healthcare infrastructure that can withstand challenges, including disease outbreaks, and ensure the well-being of every child and mother in Lao PDR," she stated.

Official handover ceremony of 32 "tek tek" vehicles provided by UNICEF in partnership with Australia to Lao PDR was organised in Houaphanh province.
UNICEF Laos/2024

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