VIENTIANE, LAO PDR — U.S. Ambassador Dr. Peter M. Haymond delivered additional supplies from the United States to help the Lao PDR fight against the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19. Ambassador Haymond delivered the additional supplies to Dr Phouthone Meuangpak Vice Minister of Health, at a handover ceremony in Vientiane on May 26. This new shipment of medical and laboratory supplies included viral transport mediums (VTMs) provided by the U.S. philanthropic organization Spirit of America, specialized laboratory air filters and autoclaves provided by the United States government through the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and a separate delivery of laboratory testing equipment including an RT-PCR machine that was provided by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) using funds donated by the United States.
“I am so proud to represent the United States as we stand together with the Lao PDR in the fight against COVID-19,” said Ambassador Haymond. “Today’s delivery of supplies is just the latest support from the United States as Laos continues its efforts against COVID. In February we were the first country to offer assistance, and we will continue to provide help going forward. We are helping answer the Lao Government’s call for assistance in our joint fight against this terrible disease.”
Together, these supplies will help government laboratories in Lao PDR maintain and further expand large-scale testing for COVID-19, as they investigate cases and trace the contacts of infected persons. The VTMs were supplied by the U.S. philanthropic organization Spirit of America, a private charity dedicated to assisting international partners in times of need. The specialized laboratory filters and autoclaves were delivered by DTRA, a U.S. Government organization that has supported Lao health security for many years by training, equipping, and supporting Lao efforts to prepare for and respond to infectious diseases in Lao PDR. The RT-PCR Machine and related laboratory equipment and supplies were provided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) using funds donated by the United States.
This support for the Lao health sector is the latest in a continuous partnership between the United States and health officials from the Lao Government, to support training for thousands of Lao health workers at the national and sub-national levels since 2006. In response to COVID-19, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided personal protective equipment and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC) provided training to the Ministry of Health as part of the United States’ initial support to the Lao PDR in early February. This was followed in March by the announcement of almost $2 million in new USAID funding support for WHO, UNICEF, and Save the Children within the Lao PDR to expand public health programs that fight the spread of COVID-19, and the announcement last week of an additional US$3.17 million in new funding support provided through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC).
Throughout the Lao PDR, the United States works in close partnership with the government and citizens on a range of programs to improve health outcomes in the country. These include long-term efforts to improve nutrition, strengthen maternal and child health, and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.