Senior U.S. Health Official Advances Cooperation with Laos

VIENTIANE, LAO PDR – On November 9, 2018, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan met with Minister of Health Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bounkong Syhavong to discuss health cooperation between the United States and Lao PDR.  Laos is an important partner in our global efforts to combat emerging and re-emerging disease threats, especially Avian Influenza and novel influenza viruses, artemisinin-resistant malaria, dengue, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis.

“The United States is committed to continuously strengthening our partnership with the Lao government and people in areas of health and sustainable development,” said U.S. Ambassador to the Lao PDR Rena Bitter. “Health cooperation is one of the best examples of our work together, and Deputy Secretary Hargan’s visit is one more sign of our how our health cooperation is continuing to expand.”

In addition to meeting with Minister Dr. Syhavong on November 9, Deputy Secretary Hargan visited hospitals and laboratories to see first-hand how U.S. Government supported training programs for public health professionals is strengthening the Lao PDR’s prevention, detection, preparedness and response to public health emergencies.

In the days prior to his arrival in Laos, Deputy Secretary Hargan led the U.S. delegation to the Fifth Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Ministerial Meeting in Indonesia, which officially launched the next five-year phase of GHSA, known as GHSA 2024. GHSA is a worldwide effort to help build countries’ capacity to help create a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats and elevate global health security as a national and global priority.

Support for public health is an important U.S. priority of the Indo-Pacific Strategy, in which the United States is contributing expertise and assistance to strengthen public health capabilities among partners throughout the region, including in the Lao PDR. In addition to joint efforts to combat infectious diseases, the U.S. Government also supports a wide range of health related programs in Laos to promote nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene, maternal and child health, support for people living with disabilities, and school feeding.