VIENTIANE, LAO PDR -- U.S. Ambassador Dr. Peter M. Haymond today announced additional funding from the United States to help the Lao PDR fight against the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19. The United States has committed an additional US$3.17 million in new funding support, provided through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC), for prevention, preparedness, and response activities in response to COVID-19 in Lao PDR. These resources will be used for surveillance, laboratory capacity building, infection prevention and control, community mitigation, emergency response, and vaccine preparedness
“The United States continues to increase our support for the Lao PDR as we work together in the worldwide fight against COVID-19,” said Ambassador Haymond. “With this announcement of funding provided by USCDC, we more than double the United States’ COVID-related assistance to the Government of Laos to date.”
This latest assistance is part of the United States’ long-term health collaboration in the Lao PDR. As part of that effort, USCDC has since 2006 supported the Lao Ministry of Health to prepare for and respond to past outbreaks such as avian and pandemic influenza, and now the COVID-19 pandemic. This has included:
Eleven years of training field epidemiologists (disease detectives) with the Field Epidemiology Training (FET) to ensure they have the necessary skills to collect, analyze and interpret data and contribute to evidence-based decisions.
Supporting the Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHEOC) development; working with the MOH to establish a high-functioning PHEOC which serves as the “control room” of the COVID-19 response.
Providing technical assistance on laboratory operations, infection prevention and control, screening at ports of entry, community engagement, and disease surveillance.
Supporting the development of a sustainable national influenza vaccination program.
“Lao PDR’s Ministry of Health is an outstanding partner for USCDC as we continue to collaborate on global health security and HIV/AIDS” added USCDC-Laos Director Dr. John MacArthur.
The new funding provided by USCDC adds to initial deliveries of equipment, supplies and training provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and USCDC to the Ministry of Health in early February. Those were followed in March by the announcement of almost $2 million in USAID funding support for WHO, UNICEF, and Save the Children within the Lao PDR to expand public health programs that fight the spread of COVID-19.
The goal of CDC’s global health response to COVID-19 is to limit human-to-human transmission, flatten the epidemic curve, and minimize the global impact of COVID-19 through partnership with key government and non-governmental partners to mitigate vulnerabilities and gaps in preparedness. The funds in today’s announcement come from the $300 million authorized for CDC’s global response to COVID-19.
Throughout the Lao PDR, the United States works in close partnership with the Lao government and Lao people on a range of programs to improve health outcomes. These include long-term efforts to improve nutrition, strengthen maternal and child health, and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.