FAO provides vital COVID-19 equipment and supplies to Lao PDR

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO) on July 12 provided vital equipment and supplies to better prepare the Lao PDR in addressing COVID-19 outbreaks.

FAO, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), provided Smart Testing Booths, reagents and supplies for COVID-19 testing to the National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology (NCLE) of the Department of Communicable Disease Control (DCDC). The provision of much needed equipment and supplies shows the vital work that FAO is doing as part of the United Nations Global Humanitarian Response Plan. The Plan was aimed at supporting governments of member countries to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have stepped up efforts to helping countries beyond our mandate of improving nutrition, increasing agricultural productivity, raising the standard of living in rural populations and contributing to global economic growth,” FAO Representative to the Lao PDR Nasar Hayat said at the handover ceremony of the equipment and supplies.

Joining Mr. Hayat were Minister of Health Bounfeng Phommalaysith, and department heads of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

They oversaw the turnover of 37,810 US Dollars or about LAK 370.8 million worth of sample collection booths and laboratory supplies to the Lao PDR government. The equipment and supplies will be distributed to hospitals or provinces as needed.

FAO has also technically supported the Lao PDR government in minimizing COVID-19 impacts especially on food security and livelihoods. The animal health sector is also being supported with FAO providing technical expertise in assisting the human health sector in the investigation, laboratory diagnosis and tracing of COVID-19 cases.

There have been overseas reports of COVID-19 infection in animals. This is a scenario that FAO is especially helping the Lao PDR to minimize the risks of COVID-19 infection in animals and, possible, further spread of the virus.

FAO, with USAID funding, have trained field border officers in northern, central, southern provinces to improve surveillance, disease inspection, sample collection, infection prevention, control and environmental cleaning practice. The training workshop allowed the officers to share lessons learned and experiences in the prevention and response to COVID-19.

Among the trainees included public and animal health officers, and immigration police officers. Mr Hayat also said that calibration and certification services were provided for biosafety cabinets in the Lao PDR.

Source: Lao News Agency