Press Release

UNFPA and Ministry of Health in Lao PDR to safeguard essential SRMNCAH amidst COVID-19

21 September 2020
@Photo UNFPA l Participants of Validation on SRMNCAH Services

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 21 September 2020 – The UN partners including UNFPA were awarded specific funding through the Multi-Partners Trust Fund (MPTF) to support the Ministry of Health to safeguard essential Sexual Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (SRMNCAH) services while dealing with COVID-19 pandemic. The main purpose of MPTF is to support the government of Lao PDR, especially the Ministry of Health to start establishing mechanisms to address barriers, in the time of COVID-19, for clients to continue to access essential SRMNCAH Services. Under the MPTF, a series of activities are implemented for the sexual and reproductive health services such as an integrated package in order to ensure the continuity of the services during COVID-19.

UNFPA and the Ministry of Health (MOH) held a validation meeting at Donchan Palace, on maintaining Essential SRMNCAH Services in Lao PDR  in order to agree on the training guideline on maintaining the services and Job Aid for providers in the time of COVID-19 which is developed jointly by the Ministry of Health and UN partners (UNFPA, UNICEF, and WHO).

The guideline has nine key chapters, including a chapter on the psycho-social support for health providers and the implementation in Phoukhoun and Phonthong Districts, Luang Prabang Province was presented during the meeting by the assigned sub-committee members to 5 Strategic Objectives (SO) regarding RMNCAH. Participants and experts from UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, UNAIDS, Mother and Child Health Center and MOH departments (Department of Health Care and Rehabilitation, Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, Department of Health Professional Education) and Luang Prabang Provincial Health Department joined the discussions both physically and online to contribute their inputs and experiences to the new guideline finalisation.

@Photo UNFPA l The guideline poster

“Thank you to UNFPA for supporting the development of the essential SRMNCAH services during COVID-19 job aid and training guide. These tools will help health service providers be prepared and ready to ensure essential services that are significant for maternal and child mobility and mortality. This support is greatly contributing to the health sector development strategy”: Dr. Onchanh Keosavanh, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion.

Phoukhoun and Phonthong Districts, Luang Prabang Province are chosen to be trialed for the MPTF implementation because it has recently dealt with some cases of COVID-19. These efforts were made to carry on the essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the service providers can develop their skills in providing the services during both the pandemic and similar situations in the future, in order to safeguard people’s sexual and reproductive health.

“The guideline was carefully curated for our health service providers to be prepared and be able to continue carrying on the SRMNCAH service during the pandemic. Furthermore, this guideline will become handy in the future. COVID-19 pandemic is the opportunity for us to show our ability in safeguarding people’s health” Dr. Khamphoua Southisombath, The Director-General of Department of Healthcare and Rehabilitation (DHR), Ministry of Health Lao PDR.

For more information please contact:

Ms. Siriphone Sakulku, SRH Programme Coordinator UNFPA Lao PDR

Email: ssakulku@unfpa.org

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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 and harmful practices towards women and girls.