US gives Laos US$700,000 to bolster fight against malaria

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN): The United States has provided US$700,000 to Population Services International in support of the Ministry of Health and the Strengthening Surveillance to Accelerate Malaria Elimination project in Laos.

The grant will be a significant boost to the project, which is part of the Impact Malaria Programme taking place in Laos from 2021 to 2023.

A grant agreement was signed on Wednesday by the Director General of the Department of Communicable Diseases Control under the Ministry of Health, Dr Rattanaxay Phetsouvanh, and PSI Country Director Viengsamay Vongkhamsao

Also present on the occasion were Deputy Minister of Health Dr Sanong Thongsana, USAID Country Office Representative to Laos, Michael Ronning, and a representative of the US President’s Malaria Initiative, along with senior ministry officials and other invited guests.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr Sanong said the project involved malaria prevention and surveillance in three provinces that had the highest rate of disease in Laos.

The grant would enable training in the treatment and reporting of malaria by hospital management to assure the quality of treatment, diagnosis, and reporting of malaria cases.

Ronning said the United States was proud to continue working with Laos, public health and INGO partners, in support of the Lao government’s efforts to improve and protect the health of the Lao people, contributing to the Strengthening of Surveillance to Accelerate Malaria Elimination project and supporting Laos in its goal to eliminate malaria by 2030.

For over 10 years the United States has stood with Laos in the fight against diseases like malaria, Ronning added.

The US government has invested over US$3.5 million in technical assistance and supplies, including over 700,000 mosquito nets, nearly 1 million diagnostic test kits, and antimalarial drugs for the people of Laos.

The goal of the project is to strengthen malaria surveillance at both the healthcare facility and healthcare worker levels, driving further progress towards national malaria elimination goals. The project will aim to achieve its goals by strengthening the National Malaria Programme at the central level.

To enhance existing elimination approaches, USAID and PSI Laos will collaborate with CMPE to conduct training and evaluate the 1-3-7 malaria elimination strategy, including how to conduct data analysis, oversee case investigations, and utilise data for evidence-based decision-making.

This latest contribution by the President’s Malaria Initiative through USAID reaffirms the commitment of the US to Laos and the support of the US to combat mosquito-borne diseases in South-East Asia.

PSI Laos has been working with the Lao government in the fight against malaria and in other health areas for more than 20 years. - Vientiane Times/Asia News Network

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