The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved on Monday a 20-million-U.S.-dollar loan to support Laos’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lao News Agency (KPL) reported on Monday.
The loan, as additional financing to the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Health Security Project, will assist the Lao Ministry of Health in procuring personal protective equipment, laboratory equipment, testing kits, medical devices, and ambulances.
It will also help the Lao government provide supplies and training to frontline health workers on infection prevention and control, lab testing, and clinical care for COVID-19 patients. It will also cover the government’s costs for contact tracing, risk communications, and other interventions.
“The additional financing will boost the resources and capacity of the Lao PDR’s health system to address the impacts of the pandemic,” the KPL quoted ADB Health Specialist Ye Xu as saying in a press release.
“The Lao PDR has been managing the outbreak relatively well, thanks to improved communicable disease surveillance and response capacity over the last decade. It still needs to maintain maximum preparedness and strengthen the health care service system to be able to respond to any resurgence of COVID-19,” said the health specialist.
As of Monday, Laos reported 19 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with evidence of limited local transmission.
The country is highly vulnerable, as the outbreak in the region forces many migrant workers to return from heavily affected neighboring countries. The health system, with limited medical personnel, supplies, and equipment, could be overwhelmed by the rapid spread of the virus, said the KPL report.