In honor of World No Tobacco Day, more than 40 students attended a seminar on the dangers of tobacco use at the US Embassy Information Resource Center. Dr. Sengdeuan Hang from the U.S. Embassy Health Unit discussed the health risks associated with smoking, and students shared their ideas about how to combat tobacco use. Schools in attendance included Vientiane High School, That Khao Secondary School, Rattana Business College, and the Gifted and Ethnics School.
Held annually on May 31st, World No Tobacco Day is an initiative by the World Health Organization to stop tobacco use for 24 hours worldwide. Tobacco use causes more than 6 million deaths every year, of which 600,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. In Laos, the World Health Organization estimates that 26% of the population smokes.
The United States is committed to working in close partnership with the people and Government of Laos to promote better health in Laos. Last week the U.S. Embassy, in cooperation with the National Blood Transfusion Center (NBTC), provided a three-day blood safety training the Lao Red Cross. This is part of a continuing program on blood to assist in meeting their National Socioeconomic Development Plan and Millennium Development Goals.
Other American initiatives to advance health in Laos include a contribution of $27 million to the World Food Program (WFP) to provide nutritious meals and snacks to more than 170,000 school children in Laos over the next three years. The support will help improve the nutrition of children in 1,747 schools. Over the past decade, the United Sates has given nearly US$54 million to support to WFP activities in Laos. Later this year, the U.S, will begin a two-year $6 million program to improve child nutrition in Laos and to help reduce the very serious rate of stunting in children under five-years of age, in support of the Lao PDR’s “Multisectoral National Nutrition Strategy and Plan of Action.”
Lao Version (PDF 273KB)