VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN): The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has provided medical supplies to assist Laos’ efforts to prevent and control the spread of Covid-19 and maintain the safety of health workers.
Personal protection equipment for use by medical staff was handed over on Friday (May 1) to Deputy Minister of Health Khamphone Phouthavong by UNFPA Representative to Laos Mariam Khan.
The supplies, worth over US$88,000, will be used to protect frontline medical workers caring for Covid-19 patients, as well as midwives and health providers working in local communities.
The items provided comprise 190 sets of personal protective equipment for health workers to reduce the risk of infection, 7,000 pairs of gloves, examination equipment, long cuffs, 700 boxes of surgical masks, and 2,040 surgical respirator masks.
The Ministry of Health will dispatch the protective equipment to medical workers around the country.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Mr Khamphone said it was essential to protect all patients who were receiving healthcare, including pregnant women and babies who might be exposed to infection.
Providing all midwives with personal protective equipment is especially important as they assist women who are pregnant, lactating, or wish to space pregnancies.
“Prevention and protection for frontline workers such as midwives, health providers, counsellors and those serving in shelters for survivors of gender-based violence is very important to maintain essential services during the Covid-19 pandemic, ” he said.
The UNFPA support is important within the broader government-led efforts to ensure that health services and workforces are well sustained and accountable to the populations they serve, he added.
He noted that the collaboration with the Ministry of Health covers interventions focusing on the provision of maternal services and psychosocial support for the most marginalised groups nationwide, with the aim of ensuring universal access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health information and services for pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and young people, as a priority during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Khan said the UNFPA has provided the ministry, WHO and the International Organisation for Migration with preventive medical equipment to support Lao 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.
Population specific and oriented interventions are being practiced to protect those in the frontline because health workers and midwives are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus due to the nature of their community-based work, she added.