On November 6, 2020, U.S. Ambassador to the Lao PDR Dr. Peter M. Haymond presented 4,800 COVID-19 reagent kits and related supplies to the National Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology. The kits given were the first delivery of a total of 9,200 kits donated by U.S. Army Pacific through its Indo-Pacific Command. The kits will help the Lao PDR detect and monitor COVID-19 within the country. The total value of the donated equipment is more than $75,000.
“The materials offered today are the latest example of the United States’ sustained commitment to our partnership with the Lao PDR in the current fight against the COVID-19 virus, as well as our long-term capacity-building partnership for the health of the Lao people,” said Ambassador Haymond at the handover ceremony at the National Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology. “Since the beginning of 2020, to fight against the COVID-19 threat, the United States has committed approximately $7.5M through USAID, the CDC, and other partners to help improve the ability to detect the virus and protect the Lao people.”
The handover complements several important recent contributions from the United States, through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), to the Lao authorities in support of the health and safety of the people of the Lao PDR. On October 6, the Embassy presented laboratory equipment to the Institut Pasteur du Laos for use by the Ministry of National Defense’s Military Medical Department. The equipment, worth $172,000, helps Lao health officials look for and diagnosis diseases in the Lao PDR. DTRA’s contribution of centrifuges and microscopes will be used for the investigation and research of dangerous infectious diseases like dengue and malaria. Autoclaves and a biosafety cabinet will assist in maintaining a sterile and safe laboratory environment to conduct this critical work.
These most recent activities follow the October 1 handover of nine top-of-the-line Ford Everest field ambulances to the Ministry of National Defense. This cooperation is just one aspect of our military medical partnership, which itself is one part of the U.S.-Lao Comprehensive Partnership.