UNICEF provides IT equipment supporting immunization efforts in Laos

The equipment will contribute towards risk communication and community engagement activities around routine immunization and COVID-19 vaccination in the Lao PDR

(KPL) Australian and Italian Governments today officially handed over IT equipment to the Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism (MICT) to enhance community engagement on routine immunization and COVID-19 booster doses, and promote the rights and wellbeing of children and women in the country.

The hand over ceremony held at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism in Vientiane on May 17

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly disrupted the Lao PDR’s nationwide immunization programme, causing many children to miss out on their vaccination. As such, vaccination is a key priority for the Government of the Lao PDR and clear messaging for both COVID-19 boosters and other vaccines is crucial in raising awareness about prevention, control measures, and hygiene practices, which can save lives and reduce the spread of viruses.

“To continue protecting the lives of children and women from COVID-19, providing information is key,” said Mr. Phosy Keomanivong, Vice Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism during the handover ceremony organised at MICT. “We must continue raising awareness about COVID-19 prevention and control measures as well as hygiene practices. In this regard, the IT equipment by UNICEF is a valuable contribution towards this important objective.”

The equipment provided, supplied by UNICEF Lao PDR with thanks to support from the Australian and Italian governments, includes loudspeaker systems, laptops, desktops, printers, photocopy machines, LCD projectors and screens, and cameras, which will support the implementation of Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) activities. These activities are designed to promote vaccination uptake for both COVID-19 and routine immunization, and to encourage community dialogue for a comprehensive understanding of the pandemic and vaccination efforts. The activities are conducted by the Centre of Communication and Education for Health and the Lao Front for National Development.

“Communication and grass-roots community engagement is a critical way to ensure all communities get vaccinated,” said Vanessa Hegarty, First Secretary of the Australian Embassy in the Lao PDR. “The Australian Government is committed to supporting vulnerable populations in the Lao PDR and hope this partnership with the Government will help enhance vaccine uptake in hard-to-reach areas.”

Partners’ support for the Government of the Lao PDR in handling the COVID-19 response is crucial for promoting risk communication and community engagement, as well as ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children and women during the pandemic.

“UNICEF is strongly committed to supporting the Government of the Lao PDR to effectively implement community engagement activities for routine immunization and COVID-19 boosters doses,” said Ms. Maryam Abdu, OIC UNICEF Deputy Representative to the Lao PDR. “Moreover, the equipment provided is proof of our decades long partnership with the Government of the Lao PDR, especially as UNICEF celebrates its 50th anniversary in the Lao PDR this year. It is our hope that the new IT equipment will further contribute towards strengthening this partnership for the benefit of every women and children in the Lao PDR.”

Source: Lao News Agency