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National leadership and harmonised joint efforts for psychosocial support

Members of the Lao Women’s Union (LWU), Vientiane Youth Centers (VYC) and Lao Youth Union (LYU) recently met in Vientiane to participate in an online training programme on psychosocial support during the Covid-19 pandemic.
They discuss the UNFPA elements for psychosocial support and the best collaborative ways to complete and coordinate each other’s work.
The participants also exchanged their related experiences and ways to cope with the emotional and behavioural reactions to the epidemic. 
The LWU representatives discussed their role and work in providing psychosocial support and counselling, especially to women and girl survivors of violence and human trafficking, as well as counselling knowledge and practical skills.
The LYU representatives provided practical skills on techniques for psychosocial support for the young population, while the VYC members shared their experiences when providing counselling on sexual reproductive health to the general population and young people.
To ensure the best counselling assistance, the aim of balanced participation of men and women counsellors was also met.
The twelve counsellors of the LWU will focus on GBV and women and girl’s needs, the three from the LYU will provide youth with accurate information and how to deal with life, love and relationship issues. The members of VYC will deal with the general population on SRH services.
At the same time, in a crisis such as this, the UNFPA is preparing to respond to the most vulnerable within the context of quarantine, self-isolation, social distancing, and lockdowns. 
The spread of Covid-19 and necessary life-saving measures being practiced in society can result in multiple dimensions of social inequalities, gender-based violence, lack of access to information, and disquieting levels of anxiety and stress for youth, women, and the elderly.
To mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the population, including women, girls, youth and those living in rural areas, UNFPA Laos is supporting these three national partners in a complementary union of interventions to provide psychosocial support. 
The immediate response for Covid-19 mobilised governments, UN agencies, civil society, individuals and the private sector to strengthen health systems and equip them for continuous medical assistance. UNFPA has actively helped to ensure the provision of sexual and reproductive health services, including maternal ones, and protection of health word.

By Phomphong Laoin
(Latest Update April 24, 2020)

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