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What you need to know

The COVID-19 pandemic constitutes the largest global public health crisis in a century, with daunting health and socioeconomic challenges. Governments are taking unprecedented measures to limit the spread of the virus, ramping up health systems and restricting the movement of millions.
The pandemic has already severely disrupted access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health services. It is worsening existing inequalities for women and girls, and deepening discrimination against marginalized groups. Sexual and reproductive health and rights is a significant public health issue that demands urgent and sustained attention and investment.
In Lao PDR, the government has taken COVID-19 prevention control and response applying measures such as lockdowns and zone classification by village to control and prevent the outbreak in the country. Whilst containing the virus and ensuring safety, the restriction of movement results in the disruption of sexual and reproductive health services including family planning, and may increase the risk of unintended pregnancy and gender-based violence. Other impacts include anxiety and mental health and psychosocial issues among adolescents and young people, a drop in school attendance, and a rise in unemployment including other social and economic impacts.

What we are doing

UNFPA Laos supports the government in the COVID19 response to ensure the continuity of essential health services especially sexual and reproductive health, family planning and safe pregnancy and childbirth, ensuring the supply of modern contraceptives and other reproductive health commodities available. Telehealth and remote care initiatives have been pilotes and are being scaled up. 
In adapting to the new normal,  innovative approaches and technology use in our programs has increased. This includes Telehealth, Comprehensive Sexuality Education online learning, Noi Yakhoo Mobile Apps, Safe Delivery Mobile Apps, telephone helplines/hotlines and online counselling. 
We provide mental health and psychosocial support to women, adolescents and young people by establishing counselling and  hotline/helpline services and providing capacity building to service providers.
We support addressing gender-based violence through strengthening instruments and laws on gender-based violence, establishing multi-sectoral mechanisms to respond to GBV, providing capacity building for government staff on counseling, ongoing case management, including managing telephone hotline/helpline.
We ensure that women and girls have access to essential items by distributing dignity kits and hygiene products and protective supplies.
We ensure the safety and protection of health providers and service providers by providing personal protective equipment so they can carry out their duties safely.
We provide risk communication by developing and disseminating COVID-19 prevention messages aimed at youth and women in the context of SRH, GBV and mental health and psychosocial well being . We aim to reach diverse audiences including health providers, pregnant women, adolescents and young people, women and girls, those who live in remote areas, those who speak ethnic languages and people with disabilities. 
We gather data disaggregated by multiple factors and consistently analyse it to ensure we are leaving no one behind !