USAID and MOH Celebrate Key Successes on the Implementation of COVID-19 Activities

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USAID and MOH Celebrate Key Successes on the Implementation of COVID-19 Activities
USAID and MOH Celebrate Key Successes on the Implementation of COVID-19 Activities
Athit Chanthalath

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

VIENTIANE, LAO PDR – The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the United States Embassy celebrated the successful implementation of the Local Health System Sustainability (LHSS) COVID-19 Response program funded by the United States through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) at a project learning event and closing ceremony on August 27 in Vientiane Capital. The event, chaired by Dr. Sisavath Southaniraxay, Deputy director of DCDC, and USAID Country Representative to Laos Mr. Michael Ronning, convened representatives from the Government of Laos, the U.S. Embassy, USAID, Save the Children and Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance to share lessons learned and key successes and plan for future actions to combat COVID-19. 

The MOH has led Laos’ COVID-19 response, with the country recording just 22 confirmed cases since the beginning of the global novel coronavirus outbreak. Beginning start of April, the USAID LHSS project provided critical surge support to the health system in Laos, strengthening government and community capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to COVID-19.

The USAID LHSS project has provided critical surge support to the health system in Laos, strengthening the government’s and community’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to COVID-19, as well as build long-term resilience to disease outbreaks. Started during the initial spread of COVID-19 around the world, the project rapidly mobilized national and community level health systems, showing that a successful multi-stakeholder related approach to prevention is achievable in Laos. 

Funded by USAID, the project focuses on non-pharmaceutical, non-clinical aspects of the COVID-19 response. The USAID LHSS project’s achievements include: 

  • Building the capacity of the national hotline to operate 24 hours a day and to field over 100,000 calls. 
  • Training 33 percent of all Lao provincial public health departments on COVID-19 prevention measures in non-clinical settings for high risk areas such as bus stations and markets.
  • Improving border screening procedures at 16 border sites and monitoring of 30 at risk mobile populations at critical sites across the country.
  • Orienting more than 2,500 private pharmacies in all 18 provinces on COVID-19 community case detection and appropriate referral of patients.
  • Expanding the reach of effective risk communication, including via online channels, from MOH to Lao citizens.
  • Mobilizing civil society networks to reach rural and ethnic communities across the country.
  • Distributing 50,000 COVID-19 risk reduction flyers nationally that were prepared for low-literacy audiences, and designed to instruct communities on COVID-19 prevention techniques for businesses and individuals.

By focusing on both national and community level infection prevention, improved risk communication, and the mobilization of support beyond those typically involved in a communicable disease response, overall COVID-19 prevention in Laos was more effective, in part thanks to the project and funding from USAID. 

“The United States is proud to work with and support the Government of Laos to prevent further spread of COVID-19,” said Mr. Ronning. “We will continue to stand alongside and support the Lao government to protect the lives of the people of Laos from this pandemic.”

The United States, through USAID and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has already provided more than $7.5 million to support the Government of Laos stop the spread of COVID-19. This includes the provision of laboratory and medical equipment, technical assistance, risk communication and training for thousands of frontline health workers throughout the Lao PDR. To date, the United States has invested more than $348 million total over the past 20 years to improve basic education, promote trade and investment, and strengthen the rule of law in Laos. 

Last updated: November 08, 2021

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