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US announces US$3 mn support for Covid-19 response in Laos

The United States has announced additional funding worth US$3.17 million to help Laos fight the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
 US Ambassador Dr Peter M Haymond on Friday announced the additional funding, according to a statement from the US Embassy in Vientiane.
The committed funding support, provided through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), is for prevention, preparedness and response activities in response to Covid-19 in Laos.
These resources will be used for surveillance, laboratory capacity building, infection prevention and control, community mitigation, emergency response, and vaccine preparedness, it said.
The new funding come from the US$300 million authorised for CDC’s global response to Covid-19.
“The United States continues to increase our support for the Lao PDR as we work together in the worldwide fight against Covid-19,” Dr Haymond said.
“With this announcement of funding provided by US CDC, 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 Laos. As part of that effort, the US CDC 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, analyse and interpret data and contribute to evidence-based decisions.
• Supporting the Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHEOC) development; working with the Ministry of Health 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 programme.
“Lao PDR’s Ministry of Health is an outstanding partner for US CDC as we continue to collaborate on global health security and HIV/AIDS,” the US CDC-Laos Director, Dr John MacArthur, said.
The new funding provided by the US CDC adds to initial deliveries of equipment, supplies and training provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and US CDC 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 the WHO, UNICEF and Save the Children within Laos to expand public health programmes 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 minimise the global impact of Covid-19 through partnership with key government and non-governmental partners to mitigate vulnerabilities and gaps in preparedness. 
Throughout Laos, the US works in close partnership with the Lao government and Lao people on a range of programmes to improve health outcomes. These include long-term efforts to improve nutrition, strengthen maternal and child health, and prevent the spread of infectious diseases, the US Embassy said.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update May 25, 2020)

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