Press Release

Over 1000 migrant women in quarantine for COVID prevention to receive essential sanitary kit provided by UNFPA in cooperation with the Lao Women's Union.

6 April 2020

6 April 2020, Vientiane-The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, has provided the Government of the Lao Women Union crucial supplies to support the emergency response with a particular focus on the special needs of women and girls who will be the most vulnerable groups in the COVID-19 crisis situation. 

The COVID 19 pandemic has pushed thousands of Lao women and girl migrant workers to return to Laos.  According to the latest report on 2 April 2020 from the Immigration Department of Vientiane Municipality Public Security, 4,715 migrants (2,922 females) crossed  Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge in Vientiane Capital. As of 25 March 2020, quarantine facilities have been set up by the Government of Lao PDR for those people with symptoms who will be housed there for 14 days.

According to the report from International Labour Organization (ILO), the number of officially registered by Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour in Thailand (August 2019), Laotian employees in Thailand is approximately 277,840, and women comprise more than half. In a crisis globally, women and girls are the most vulnerable, including those who are pregnant or have just given birth. The risk of gender-based violence is also exacerbated in such crises. 

UNFPA’s response is women and girls-centred, 1,000 packs of soap and 2,000 packs of sanitary pads were provided by UNFPA for women migrants within the quarantine facilities. 

The handover was done on 6 of April. On behalf of Lao government H.E. Bandith Prthoumvanh, Vice President of Lao Women’s Union received the supplies from UNFPA Lao office and said: “LWU’s priority is to ensure that women and girls receive required services and support during the COVID -19 response and mitigation led by the Government of Lao”.  UNFPA, a long-standing development partner of the Lao government, is also delivering personal protective equipment for frontline workers such as midwives in Lao PDR. Ms Mariam A Khan, the UNFPA Representative in Lao PDR said ``In any crisis, attention is required to the specific needs of women and girls. They are at risk of higher levels of vulnerability including gender-based violence, so protection measures need to be in place”. 

Psychosocial support hotlines will continue to be run by Lao Women’s Union, Lao Youth Union, and Vientiane Youth Centre with support of UNFPA. Anticipating an increase in demand that may arise during this pandemic, the hotlines will maintain services for general emotional stress, GBV response and referral as well as lines which are dedicated to young people’s needs. Increase in their hours of service is being arranged. 

 

For more information please contact:

Mijung Kim, Youth and Communication Assistant, UNFPA Laos
mijung@unfpa.org