Press Release

Lao midwife's story 1: Realizing my dream job of providing sexual reproductive health services

5 May 2020
Samayphone Souliyavong will soon graduate as a full-fledged midwife, but she's already helping respond to COVID-19.


I am Samayphone Souliyavong. I am 21 years old and I am from Phukkhaya Village, Atsaphone District, Savannakhet Province in Lao PDR. I am studying midwifery and this is my final year. I chose this job because I like providing care for women and newborns, such as self-preparedness before pregnancy, pregnancy, birth, postpartum care for women, breastfeeding support, newborn care, and family planning. I set up my work and life schedules properly, so I can easily balance both.

When COVID-19 arrived, we had, first of all, to take care of ourselves. We needed to make sure that our health is strong, that we know how to protect ourselves from infection, that we do not have other health problems. Self-preparedness was crucial.

For me, the working conditions were and still stable. On my duty at the border bridge, happily, I had not tested any positive COVID-19. For myself, I also observed and checked my health and preparation all the time. I monitored my body temperature regularly.

So far, I am feeling confident when accomplishing my duties, as I am receiving support from my teachers and friends at my college as well as from my family. During our work, health workers cooperate with us by providing training, practices on how to cope with COVID-19, and set rightly according to international standard measures. As midwives, we do not only help or provide information for pregnant women, but we are also responsible for protecting people who seek other services such as women and men at reproductive age.  

I would like to tell Lao people to be conscious and cautious. The best protection is to start from ourselves, such as staying at home with family, avoiding to go to dangerous areas, washing hands every time when touching things. I advise them to exercise to stay healthy and try to stay away from people who have symptoms related to COVID-19. To be honest, at the moment, I am worried about people who still ignore how dangerous COVID-19 is. It represents a risk for everyone if they do not cooperate with health workers. So, as we are midwives, we encourage everyone to protect themselves. By seeing people safe, we feel pleased and safe too.

By becoming a midwife, I am fulfilling a dream. I want to take part in assisting the lives of women and infants to provide care with healthiness, safety, and quality. I am ready to cooperate to improve midwifery in Lao PDR, in balancing the health system during pandemics, and once we are out of it, to maintain the health systems safe and functional.

There may be between  330,000 -368,000 unplanned pregnancies in Laos during 2020-21. This number is impacted by COVID 19.  Midwives help deliver contraceptives and save women's lives through safe deliveries. The Ministry of Health is increasing the investments in the Lao Midwifery workforce with UNFPA support.


All images credit: UNFPA Lao PDR

UNFPA, the UN's sexual and reproductive health agency, works in Lao PDR and over 150 other countries globally to achieve zero maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning, and zero gender-based violence and other harmful practices against women and girls - a vision enshrined in the Programme of Action stemming from the landmark 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

To learn more about our response to COVID-19, visit

To support our lifesaving work amid the pandemic, visit