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USAID donates medical equipment to assist Lao COVID-19 response

The Ministry of Health has welcomed a donation of medical equipment worth more than US$170,000 from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to assist Laos’ efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19.
The donated medical equipment, under a COVID-19 response grant facilitated by the World Health Organisation, was handed over to Deputy Minister of Health, Associate Professor Dr Phouthone Muongpak in Vientiane on Friday.

Acting Country Director of USAID to the Lao PDR, Mr Patrick Bowers and Acting WHO Representative, Dr Howard Sobel along with senior officials from the ministry and invited guests attended the handover ceremony.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Phouthone Muongpak thanked USAID for providing the medical equipment to Laos as a contribution to thwarting the coronavirus.
He highlighted that the US had been a long-standing and supportive partner to the Ministry of Health, from its preparedness and containment activities aimed at mitigating the spread of infectious diseases and pandemic threats like Avian Influenza to the current COVID-19 response.
“Let us continue our work together to fight this pandemic and broaden our relationship for the health of the people in Laos,” he said.
Since the start of the pandemic, the US has committed to strengthening Laos’ capacity to fight and control the spread of COVID-19, through a range of preparedness and capacity building activities implemented through various agencies.
Mr Bowers said “I am proud to represent the United States as we stand together with Laos in the fight against COVID-19. Today’s delivery of supplies is just the latest part of our continuing US support to Laos as the country works to prevent and control future outbreaks of the novel coronavirus,”.
According to a press release from USAID, compliance fatigue or community pushback is common in places where there have been no or few cases.
In the case of Laos, people have stopped wearing masks, but low-risk is not ‘no risk’. COVID-19 remains a threat so long as cases are still increasing globally.
There was one imported COVID case reported on 24 July, which serves as a reminder for the need to remain vigilant and conduct testing to identify cases early.
The ability to quickly detect COVID-19 cases and rapid tracing of close contacts can mitigate the risk and contain the outbreak from further spread.
USAID funding has allowed the country to support Lao central hospitals to isolate and treat patients. As Laos witnessed an increase in dengue cases which has similar symptoms, the ability to test so that it can be treated effectively is also key to controlling the outbreak.


By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update
August 11,
2020)


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