VIENTIANE, LAO PDR -- The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has committed an additional $2.5 million to mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Lao PDR. In coordination with the Government of Lao PDR, USAID will provide this additional funding to international organizations in Lao PDR to control the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“This additional funding from the United States reaffirms our commitment under the U.S.-Lao Comprehensive Partnership,” said U.S. Ambassador Dr. Peter M. Haymond. “We are proud that total U.S. commitments of COVID related assistance now exceeds $7.5 million. The United States is supporting Government of Lao PDR in its efforts to prevent the spread of this terrible virus and protect the health and wellbeing of the Lao people.”
The United States has provided more than $7.5 million to help Laos respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. In February, the United States, through USAID, provided medical equipment to help frontline health workers safely care for patients in Laos. In March, USAID followed up with more than $1.9 million of new funding support against COVID-19. Last month, the United States provided additional funding of approximately $3.17 million from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (USCDC). Additionally, two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines, ten laptops, specialized laboratory filters and autoclaves, and numerous testing supplies were donated by U.S. government and private organizations to the Ministry of Health’s National Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology to help scientists and health officials conduct testing and contact tracing, respectively.
Through this latest funding assistance, USAID will support:
Community engagement to help educate Lao citizens on steps they can take to prevent and respond to the spread of the virus.
Programs to enhance infection prevention and control.
Support for Lao laboratories to help them diagnose and detect COVID-19 cases.
Efforts to help provide surveillance for COVID-19 to minimize the risk of onwards transmission to others.
The United States has invested nearly $92 million in public health cooperation over the past 20 years in Laos. During that time, USCDC, USAID and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) have supported training for thousands of Lao health workers at the national and sub-national levels, including the majority of front-line Lao epidemiologists and public health experts currently fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the President’s Malaria Initiative, USAID support helped the Government of Laos to reduce the number of malaria cases by 80% in the past six years. Separately, the United States helped Laos eliminate the eye disease trachoma in 2018.
HIV/AIDS infections in Laos have declined dramatically over the past two decades due to successful HIV prevention and treatment programs implemented by the Government of Lao PDR in partnership with local communities, with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). These examples and many others demonstrate long-term U.S. support for the Lao government and people through a range of programs to help improve health outcomes and achieve the country’s development goals.