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UNFPA Provides Telehealth Equipment to Ministry of Health for continuity of life saving reproductive health services during COVID-19

12 October 2021, Vientiane Capital - Today, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) handed over telehealth equipment to the Ministry of Health (MoH) for the essential Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) service provision to women and girls. The package contains mobile phones, thermometers, blood pressure scuff, saturometer, information, education, and communication (IEC) materials. The material will be distributed to health providers in six provinces, such as Vientiane Capital, Savannakhet, Bolikhamxay, Khammouan, Champasak, and Saravane provinces.

 

Dr. Bounfeng Phoummalaysith, the Minister of Health said “We are facing an emergency and tragedy that happens to pregnant women at the quarantine centers. With UNFPA support, we aim to implement as many services as possible to prevent maternal deaths. The telehealth approach is innovative service delivery. We tried last year in Luang Prabang, during the lockdown, women could consult the midwives through phone calls and get advice. It worked very well so we said: why not apply it with women at the Isolation Facilities.

 

Mariam A. Khan, UNFPA Country Representative for Lao PDR, said, “telehealth will ensure that women and girls receive RMNCAH services even in quarantine and isolation. The medical equipment is crucial for health providers to provide timely and effective services remotely. While there are 26 Covid related deaths in Lao PDR over 2 years, from January to October 2021, already 73 maternal deaths have been recorded in Lao PDR! UNFPA will make every effort to support the government to ensure that women and girls have access to life saving healthcare in a manner that minimises COVID transmission.”

 

As the provinces have received an influx of returning migrant workers, there is an increased need for RMNCAH services for the female migrant workers at the quarantine and isolation facilities. In response to such demands, UNFPA provided telehealth training to 42 healthcare providers from those provinces in August. In addition, to further support telehealth implementation, the healthcare providers will receive the medical devices and IEC materials to facilitate their work.

 

Telehealth was first introduced and piloted in LuangPrabang province in 2020. The pilot saw positive results and has been further expanded to include the six provinces. This innovative approach serves as a new platform for maintaining the essential RMNCAH services during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in remote areas, where access to healthcare remains a challenge. Through telehealth, health providers connect with women and provide immediate assistance, advice, and referral pathways to ensure pregnant women, mothers, and their babies receive care timely and stay safe.

 

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UNFPA is the United Nations 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:

Ms. Oulayvanh Sayarath

National Program Analyst, UNFPA Laos

sayarath@unfpa.org

 

Ms. Vanly Lorkuangming

Communications and Partnerships Analyst,

UNFPA Laos

lorkuangming@unfpa.org