VIENTIANE, U.S. Embassy in Laos -- The United States continues to support Lao PDR in the fight against malaria. On January 5, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Acting Country Representative to Lao PDR, Dr. Kevin Smith, presented 70,000 long-lasting insecticide treated nets with a total value of $133,000 USD, and entomology laboratory equipment with a total value of $27,486 USD to Vice Minister of Health Dr. Snong Thongsna at a ceremony in Vientiane. This grand total of $160,486 USD is part of the United States’ ongoing support to Lao PDR’s malaria elimination goal.
The long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, funded by USAID through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), will be distributed to vulnerable families, mostly those with pregnant women, and communities in greatest need. Six southern provinces where malaria cases remain especially high will receive a large portion of the bednets. The entomology laboratory equipment will be used to strengthen the entomological surveillance system of the Ministry of Health’s National Malaria Control Program. This donation from the United States will help the Government of Lao PDR protect pregnant women and ensure the availability of bednets in the event of unforeseeable outbreaks.
Dr. Smith highlighted the partnership between Lao PDR and the United States in this important work. “The United States considers health assistance as a central part of the U.S.-Lao Comprehensive Partnership. We are proud to continue working with the Lao PDR Government and our public health partners through this contribution of lifesaving supplies and laboratory equipment to eliminate malaria by 2030,” said Dr. Smith.
The handover is the most recent example of U.S. support to Lao PDR in combating and eliminating malaria. Together with this donation, over the past 10 years, USAID has provided technical assistance, supplied equipment, and distributed more than 1,100,000 mosquito nets, 1,000,000 malaria diagnostic test kits, and antimalarial drugs and treatments valued at more than 5.2 million USD.
The United States’ development assistance to Lao PDR spans more than a decade. In health, USAID has supported Lao PDR to fight various infectious diseases, improve maternal and child health and nutrition, and enabled persons with disabilities to live to their full potential.