NGO PSI supports health sector upgrade with US$4.9 million

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Population Services International (PSI) will provide US$4.9 million to help Laos improve the health sector from 2019 to 2022.

The new assistance package “Concerning Strengthening Public Health Emergency Operations Centre to Accelerate Malaria Elimination and Respond to Public Health Emergencies in the Lao PDR” will support the Ministry of Health to ensure it has the capacity to detect and respond to any public health emergency, interrupt disease outbreaks (including malaria), and ultimately reduce the impact of these diseases on the community.

A signing ceremony for the cooperation agreement took place on Friday in Vientiane between the Director General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control under the Ministry of Health, Dr Rattanaxay Phetsouvanh, and PSI Representative Mr Viengsamay Vongkhamsao, witnessed by senior officials from the ministry and guests.

Head of Office at the Ministry of Health, Dr Nao Boutta, also attended the event.

Mr Viengsamay said PSI would continue to provide support to Laos for malaria prevention and control.

“We learned many important lessons this year in terms of social mobilisation, the need to use an integrated multispectral approach for malaria control, and getting communities involved in maintaining a clean environment to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes,” he said.

Under the agreement, the two parties will implement a project facility with joint participation in the establishment of the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre including the required infrastructure, human resources, and plans and procedures.

A Surveillance Section will include a fully established and functional information system, including coordination and providing support for logistics, and creating a standardised georegistry. A Sustainability Plan with effective coordination mechanisms and monitoring and evaluation will be developed and endorsed by the Ministry of Health.

According to the ministry, the cooperation agreement is in line with its long-term plan to eradicate malaria by 2030.  The project will also play a role in fighting the disease under the National Prevention and Control Malaria Strategic Plan (2016-2025) and Plan of Action (2016-2020) to provide a common framework for all stakeholders to accelerate the nationwide scale-up of evidence-led malaria reduction interventions by the government, development partners, the private sector and all stakeholders.