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The government of Laos is
working to meet the threat of the current H1N1 influenza pandemic and the
United States is assisting that effort. At a ceremony in September marking the
turnover of laboratory equipment to the Lao Ministry of Health, Vice Minister
Dr. Eksavang Vongvichit expressed his appreciation to U.S. Ambassador to Laos
Ravic Huso and to Dr. Dong Il Ahn, Country Representative of the World Health
Organization for the contribution of vitally needed laboratory equipment.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, in
collaboration with the World Health Organization are intensifying efforts to
promote pandemic preparedness and counter the current influenza pandemic by
providing new laboratory diagnostic capabilities at the National Center for
Laboratory and Epidemiology of the Lao Ministry of Health.
On September 17th, the CDC and the World Health Organization, or WHO, turned
over to Laotian health authorities a Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
machine that will greatly improve the speed, quantity, and quality of
laboratory testing. The contribution of this equipment, valued at over $60,000,
is part of a more comprehensive effort that has included laboratory training,
in Laos and the region, provision of materials and supplies, and guidance and
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Since April 2009, this more comprehensive assistance for laboratory diagnostic
support is valued at over $300,000. Additionally, the CDC and WHO collaboration
has provided recent assistance in establishing "first time" testing
for the detection of anthrax in human beings at the National Center for
Laboratory and Epidemiology.
The United States
government, through agencies including the CDC, the United States Agency for
International Development, and the United States Department of Defense, has
assisted the Lao government in responding to pandemic threats since 2006 by
helping develop capacity building measures valued at over $14 million. The U.S.
recognizes the success of the Lao Ministry of Health in containing and
mitigating pandemic threats, and will continue to strengthen national capacity
through the partnership of the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control.