- General

LAOS: national leadership and harmonized joint efforts for psychosocial support

As the world reaches the fourth month of COVID-19 pandemic, the needs of populations continue to increase, not only for health assistance but also for psychosocial support and wellbeing.

Immediate response for COVID-19 mobilized governments, UN agencies, civil society, individuals, and private sector to strengthen health systems and equip them for continuous medical assistance, UNFPA has actively helped ensuring the provision of sexual and reproductive health services including maternal ones and protection of health workers.

At the same time, in a crisis such as this, UNFPA is preparing to respond to the most vulnerable within the context of quarantine, self-isolation, social distancing and lockdowns. Regrettably, the spread of COVID-19 and necessary life saving measures being practiced in society, can result in multiple dimensions of social inequalities, gender-based violence, lack of access to information and disquieting levels of anxiety and stress for youth, for women, for the elderly .

To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the population including women, girls, youth and those living in rural areas, UNFPA LAOS is supporting three national partners in a complementary union of interventions to provide psychosocial support. 

On the 10th of April, despite the lockdown and difficulties to communicate, Lao Women’s Union (LWU), Vientiane Youth Centers (VYC), and Lao Youth Union (LYU) more engaged than ever responded present to an online training to discuss with UNFPA elements of psychosocial support and seek best collaboration ways to complete and coordinate each other’s work.

The 25 participants exchanged their related experiences and how to cope with emotional and behavioral reactions to the epidemic situation. LWU discussed their role and work in providing psychosocial support and counseling, especially for women and girls survivors of violence and human trafficking and the counseling knowledge and practical skills.

LYU provided practical skills on techniques of psychosocial support for the young population; while VYC also shared their encounter when providing counseling on sexual reproductive health to the general population and young people. 

To ensure the best counseling assistance, balanced participation of men and women counselors was met. The twelve counselors of LWU will focus on GBV and women/girl’s needs, the three of LYU will provide youth with accurate information and how to deal with life, love and relationship issues meanwhile the sixth of VYC will deal with the general populations on SRH services.

A core team of five officers from UNFPA CO will assist them as they launch their five (6) hotlines and four (4) numbers straight after the New Year celebration!

If you need support to discuss any form of domestic violence or abuse, you can call: 1362

If you are a young person and want to share some thoughts you can call one of these numbers:  97721042 – 55774438 – 23999629

If you are tense, frustrated and have anxiety about missing your friends, girlfriend/boyfriend you can call 1361 if you are a woman and 137 if you are a man.

Source: Lao News Agency

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