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Personal Protection Equipment will protect frontline workers in Lao PDR

VIENTIANE, LAO PDR, 30 April 2020 - To protect health workers and ensure they continue to serve communities especially for maternal health during COVID-19, measures of hygiene and physical distancing for the general population, specific and oriented interventions are being practiced to ensure the protection of those on the frontlines: Midwives and health workers.

Why? Because health workers and midwives are particularly vulnerable to the virus due to the nature of their community-based work.  By protecting them, we also protect all patients to whom they deliver health services and care, particularly pregnant women and babies who might be exposed during the process.  Providing all midwives with personal protective equipment (PPE) is especially important as they serve women who are pregnant, lactating, or wish to space pregnancies

Mr. Khamphone Phouthavong, Vice Minister of Health, Lao PDR, said:  “Prevention and protection for frontline workers such as midwives, health providers, counsellors and those serving in shelters for survivors of gender-based violence are very important to maintain essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The UNFPA support is important within the broader Government-led efforts to ensure that health services and the workforce are well sustained and accountable to the populations they serve”. 

The collaboration with the Ministry of Health covers interventions focusing on the provision of maternal services and psychosocial support for the most marginalized groups nationwide with the aim of ensuring universal access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health information and services for pregnant women, women at reproductive age and young people as a priority during the outbreak.

Ms. Mariam A Khan, UNFPA Representative in Lao PDR, said: “In this context, UNFPA has imported for MOH, WHO and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) prevention equipment valued at over of USD 88,000 to support midwives and health providers; the Lao Women's Union; the Vientiane Youth Centre; and the Lao Youth Union, all of whom have frontline workers who provide safe motherhood services, and will also ensure psychosocial support with a particular emphasis on addressing the needs of women and girls facing intersecting inequalities, discrimination, violence, exploitation and abuse in times of crises”.

The Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion will receive from UNFPA 190 PPE sets for health workers to reduce risk of infection, 7000 units of gloves, examination, long cuff, nitrile, 700 boxes of 50 units each of surgical masks type IIR and 2,040 Surgical Respirator FFP2/N95 masks. MOH will dispatch the protective equipment to partners.

For more information please contact:

Mr. Visit Khamlusa, Director, Center of Communication, Education on Health, Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, Ministry of Health

vkhamlusa@yahoo.com

Zahra BENYAHIA, Communication Consultant, UNFPA Laos

fbenyahia@unfpa.org