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Lao Gov’t, UNICEF Reaffirm Commitment to Build a Better Post-Pandemic World for Children

The Ministry of Health and UNICEF, on the occasion of World Children’s Day (WCD), launched the first song in the Lao PDR that promotes the importance of vaccination and highlights messages around COVID-19 safety practices.

The song, titled “Vaccinate Laos” was composed and interpreted by Lao singer Aluna Thavonsouk, and celebrates the efforts of the country’s health workers who have been at the forefront of the Lao PDR’s COVID-19 response since the start of the outbreak.

World Children’s Day (WCD) is UNICEF’s global day of action for children that aims to highlight critical issues affecting their lives and is observed each year on 20 November to mark the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

This year, WCD continued to take place amidst the challenging circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a small-scale hybrid event organised to mark the occasion in the Lao PDR and the launch of the aforementioned song.

The event was held at a local temple in Vientiane that is currently being used as a vaccination centre and was chaired by Vice Minister of Health Sanong Thongsana, and UNICEF Representative in the Lao PDR Pia Rebello Britto, with more participants also tuning in to view a live stream of the event online.

“The socio-economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been massive, undermining the health and aspirations of our children. We know that children and young people are the future of our country and it is thus essential that we strengthen our efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 and help children and their families to recover from the impacts of the pandemic. In this regard, vaccination is key,” said Vice Minister of Health Sanong Thongsana.

The song’s debut is timely as the Government ramps up its COVID-19 vaccination campaign to reach a new target of 70 per cent vaccination coverage rate for the total population of the Lao PDR by the end of 2021. The song will also be disseminated via community loudspeakers and radio as well as the Lao National Radio to help engage community members on COVID-19 vaccination.

“The pandemic continues to be a child rights crisis that threatens the future of an entire generation. It is important that we listen to the voices of our children on matters most important to them, whether it be education or climate change, so we can help them reimagine a better post-pandemic world and realise the vision of Lao Generation 2030 – a generation of young people with improved health, nutrition, education, protection, and social, emotional and cognitive skills,” said Dr. Britto. “This year’s World Children’s Day also coincides with UNICEF’s 75th anniversary, which is a testament to our decades’-long commitment to advancing the rights of children everywhere, including in the Lao PDR. On WCD 2021, UNICEF reaffirms its commitment to working with the Government and our partners to improve the lives of Lao children, putting special emphasis on childhood immunization as we reimagine a better country for all, a country where every child is fully vaccinated and gets the best start to life,” concluded UNICEF Representative.

Aluna Thavonsouk also expressed her great enthusiasm for the release of the song, which she hopes will contribute towards the Lao PDR’s vaccination campaign. “The song has been an opportunity for me to contribute to the vaccination campaign in the Lao PDR in my own way. I hope that my music will help promote a spirit of solidarity among the Lao people during the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage even more people to get vaccinated so that we can help children and families recover from the impacts of the pandemic,” shared the singer.

Source: Lao News Agency