USAID provides US$2.4 million for Covid vaccination rollout in Laos

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): The United States, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), will provide an additional US$2.4 million grant to Unicef and the World Health Organization (WHO) to further support Laos’ Covid-19 vaccination programme.

The grant will primarily focus on supporting the readiness, delivery and post-delivery monitoring of vaccinations.

Deputy Minister of Health Dr Snong Thongsna, joined by US Ambassador to Laos Dr Peter M. Haymond, Unicef Deputy Representative to Laos Beate Dastel, and WHO Officer-in-Charge to Laos Dr Jun Gao, launched the project at an event at the new Ministry of Health facility.

Dr Snong expressed his appreciation to USAID and the US government for their additional assistance and commended the United States government, Unicef and WHO for their valuable support to the Lao people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As Laos experiences more cases of Covid-19, the need to scale up our vaccination rollout is a top priority for the government.”

“This additional grant, funded by USAID and implemented by Unicef and the WHO, will be a great contribution to our efforts in this regard and towards meeting our vaccination targets,” Dr Snong said.

Ambassador Haymond congratulated Laos on its efforts to keep the public safe, and highlighted the achievements between the United States, Laos, the WHO and Unicef.

“This new grant reflects the strong and expanding partnership between the governments and people of the United States and Laos. To date, the United States has provided over US$13 million in support of Laos’ fight against Covid-19,” Ambassador Haymond said.

“In addition to the health sector, the US government is committed to helping Laos address the impacts of Covid-19 on the education system, the economy, and the rule of law. All of our assistance is to help Laos build back better and become stronger and more prosperous.”

An allotment of US$1million of the total grant amount, provided by USAID, will contribute towards helping the WHO strengthen the health system to ensure safe vaccinations for the public.

This support aims to sustain the vaccine programme in Laos, by strengthening regulations to ensure proper implementation of emergency use authorisation and supporting the procurement of materials and equipment to help monitor and respond to adverse events following immunisation.

WHO’s implementation of the project will also focus on the development of educational materials and training for health workers, as well as improving the quality and availability of data for planning and decision making around vaccinations to help reach remote populations belonging to high-risk groups.

“WHO greatly appreciates USAID’s financial contribution, as it adds to the collective goals of regulatory strengthening and scaling up of vaccine safety monitoring. It will also improve vaccination data quality, which can be used for planning, monitoring and decision-making to ensure that the most vulnerable populations are vaccinated,” Dr Gao said.

The other allocation of US$1.4 million of the total grant amount will support Unicef in providing technical guidance to the government on monitoring cold chain facilities and logistics, engaging communities on vaccination and monitoring possible adverse events following vaccination.

This will also assist in the provision of hygiene supplies for quarantine centres accommodating Covid-19 patients and returning migrants.

“Unicef welcomes this new project to strengthen vaccination rollout in Laos, which will also have a positive impact on strengthening routine childhood immunisation. Our sincerest thanks to USAID for their assistance,” Dastel said.

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Laos , USAID , vaccination


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