A handover ceremony was held at the Ministry of Health where 200 sets of hospital ICU beds estimated at LAK1,170,000,000 (USD 123,500) were provided to the Ministry of Health. These beds will be distributed to isolation facilities in 15 provinces.

The event was attended by Dr. Sanong Thongsana, Vice Minister of Health; Ms Ina Marčiulionytė, European Union Ambassador to Lao People’s Democratic Republic and WHO Officer-in-Charge Dr Jun Gao.

Speaking at the event, Vice Minister Dr Thongsana thanked the European Union for providing the 200 ICU beds at an opportune time when hospital and isolation facilities in some provinces are seeing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases due to increasing numbers of returning migrant workers from neighboring countries. These beds will help provinces in strengthening hospital and isolation facility capacities in treating severe cases.

The MOH-EU-WHO “South East Asia Health Pandemic Response and Preparedness” project focuses on enhancing the first line of defense by strengthening Points-of-Entry and enforcing quarantine measures so that the country can continue to detect imported cases rapidly.

The National Taskforce for COVID-19 Prevention and Control is now expanding treatment and isolation facilities across the country to meet an increase in demand as the number of COVID-19 cases surges.

“Global cooperation and solidarity are fundamental in fighting the COVID 19 pandemic. As Team Europe, the European Union has been leading the multilateral response to ensure early access to vaccines, diagnostics and treatments everywhere. This is to make sure that no one is left behind” said EU Ambassador Marčiulionytė. “The European Union, our Member States with WHO are proud to support these needed medical equipment today and we remain committed to working closely with Ministry of Health and other partners to control and suppress COVID-19 transmission in Laos PDR” concluded Ambassador Marčiulionytė.

Today’s donation brings not only medical equipment to the country, but also the means for health services for the needed patients and for the alleviation of the financial burdens of the Lao Government.

As of 13 July 2021, a total of 2,901 cases of COVID-19 has been recorded in the country and these numbers are likely to increase with the recent increase in the number of returning migrant workers from neighboring countries which are also seeing a surge in cases.

WHO Officer-in-Charge to Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Dr Gao Jun said “ WHO stands committed in continuing our support to strengthen case management capacity in the country among other key areas in preparing and responding to COVID-19. No country fights this pandemic on its own and only through partnerships such as these could we fight this pandemic effectively together and save lives.” Dr Gao Jun thanked the EU and the Ministry of Health of Lao PDR for their longstanding and continued collaboration with WHO.

According to who.int