Press Release

Lao midwife's story 3: Young, midwife and taking active role in leadership against COVID-19

7 May 2020

My name is Siliphone Kharykham. I am 19 years old and I am from Dontun Village, Xienghone District, Sayaboury Province in Lao PDR. I am graduating as a midwife this year. What I most love about my job is to help giving births safely and look after both women and newborns. In my daily life, I would say that I manage to balance my personal and professional life. I live in the dormitory, I follow the classes and work schedules with enthusiasm.

As soon as we realized  Covid-19 arrival to Laos was evident, I concentrated my efforts into finding information, news, or other contents that could help me know how the situation is going on and how is protection done. I used the internet, manuals, and magazines. I am also one of the midwifery students who were requested by the Department of Public Health of the province to be part of the task force for COVID-19 control. We were trained to follow up on this duty.

To do our job, we follow the instructions from the Department of Health Education and the resolutions of our college. We maintain a hotline on which we work to inform people who were in close contact with COVID-19 in Luang Prabang. On the personal side, I changed my living style: now I do self-quarantine and follow up on the recommendations strictly. I feel blessed by all information I access thanks to the solidarity with colleagues, especially at college and from the department of health. We are so close and we complete each other, not just for midwifery tasks but for other services as well. My family and relatives are also proud of me and encourage me all the time. I count also on the encouragement of people in Laos. How? By protecting themselves. The epidemic is spreading all around the world. They need to ignore rumors or other untrusted content. Together, we will go through all of this.

Finally, COVID made me realize how important my role is, as a midwife student, in balancing the health system during epidemics. This is a big lesson for us to capitalize on now and with the next generations of students in order to protect and control epidemics and also coordinate work and efforts to maintain, improve and make health services available and responsive to the needs in Laos.

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