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19 August 2022, Vientiane Capital - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Commission for the Advancement of Mothers and Children (NCAWMC), and financially supported by Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), convened the endorsement meeting for the ‘Standard Operating Procedures for Health Facility Response to Violence Against Women’ (the Health SOP).

The meeting gathered experts and stakeholders from the health sector and relevant line ministries and development partners for endorsement of this key document. The Health SOP was developed through technical consultations amongst health, social and justice sectors as well as key development partners under the leadership of MoH and NCAWMC. The SOP is aligned with the internationally recognized Essential Services Package for Women and Girls Subject to Violence (the ESP) for screening, treating and referring survivors of violence in medical facilities.

H.E. Dr. Phayvanh Keophaseurt, Vice Minister of MoH, President of NCAWMC of MoH noted relevance of the SOPs in closing the gap for the implementation of the National Action Plan Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Children (2021-2025): “With the SOPs in place, support to survivors of violence will be systemic in all health faclities. GBV survivors will receive the quality health services required and will be referred to other sectors as needed. No matter where the survivor goes to seek services, there will be a coordinated, standardized response that is grounded in the Lao context and meets international standards.” 

Combating gender-based violence/violence against women is a commitment of Lao PDR to the International Conference on Population and Development “ICPD25” Nairobi Summit and supports the realisation of Laos’ commitments to CEDAW, Beijing Platform for Action and ambitions for the SDGs. The SOPs are implementation tools  of the ESP: a coordinated multi-sectoral quality response for women and girls subject to violence.  Implementation of the ESP can significantly mitigate the consequences of violence on the well-being, health and safety of women and girls’ lives;  assist in the recovery and empowerment of women, and stop violence from reoccurring.

Ms Mariam Khan, UNFPA Representative to Lao PDR said: “UNFPA supports Lao PDR to implement international human rights commitments related to gender equity. The Health SOP is a practical tool for health service staff to screen and identify survivors of violence, offer treatment and support for physical, psychological and emotional issues.  The SOPs provide an operating framework and clinical guidance for all hospitals and medical facilities in the country”.

Healthcare providers are often the first contact when a woman seeks medical attention after being subject to violence, especially for physical or sexual violence. Health service providers must provide care in a consistently professional manner, collect timely forensic evidence, and refer to other services: social, police, legal to protect the safety and wellbeing of the survivor. 

Following this endorsement, health staff in 6 target provinces will be trained on the SOP. The SOP is part of the ESP package of tools along with connected to the Social Sector SOP and Coordination SOP, and will be endorsed in the coming weeks, also supported by UNFPA.


UNFPA, the UN's sexual and reproductive health agency, works in over 150 countries including Lao PDR, to achieve zero maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning and zero gender-based violence.

For more information please contact:

Sisouvanh Vorabouth, Programme Gender Analyst, UNFPA Laos


Fatima-Zahra Benyahia 

Partnership and Innovation Specialist, UNFPA Laos