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European Union Funded Medical Sterilization Equipment to Boosts Health Protection

Source: Vientiane Times

Hospital sterilization equipment procured by the World Health Organisation (WHO) worth more than US$160,000 is being dispatched to healthcare facilities in Vientiane and several provinces.

The donation is part of ongoing efforts by the Ministry of Health, WHO, and the European Union (EU) to tackle Covid-19 and other infectious diseases, and strengthen the Lao health system’s capacity to cope with future health threats including antimicrobial resistance.

Twelve autoclaves with 150-liter and 200-liter capacities, used for the industrial-scale sterilization of medical equipment, have been provided to healthcare facilities across the country.

J&C Group- your trusted partners in Laos
J&C Group- your trusted partners in Laos

The autoclaves will greatly expand the ability of provincial hospitals to conduct high-volume, high-temperature sterilization of surgical and medical devices.

The donation accompanies an EU-funded, WHO-delivered infection prevention and control training for 243 nurses, doctors, and midwives in central, provincial, and district hospitals in Luang Prabang, Oudomxay, Champassak, Xieng Khuang, Xekong, and Vientiane provinces, and the capital Vientiane. “Improving the quality and safety of healthcare services for our people is our ministry’s key focus,” said Minister of Health Dr. Bounfeng Phoummalaysith.

“This generous EU assistance will enhance infection prevention and control, an essential part of improving the quality of healthcare, and strengthen our health system now and in the future.”

“This timely donation and support from the European Union is greatly appreciated and will improve patient safety by reducing the incidence of healthcare-associated infections,” said the Deputy Director General of the ministry’s Department of Healthcare and Rehabilitation, Dr. Somchan Thounsavath. “Providing the greatest level of quality care, and health for all, is our top priority, and this contribution allows us to better protect healthcare workers, patients, and communities.”

The autoclaves, providing 2,000 liters of sterilization capacity in total, have been supported by training for healthcare workers on strengthening infection prevention knowledge, skills, monitoring, evaluation, and developing tailored plans to address gaps in infection prevention and control in each facility. Under the leadership of the Nursing and Midwifery Division, Department of Healthcare and Rehabilitation, WHO provided the training, as well as supporting assessments.

“The European Union is proud to help reinforce the healthcare system in Laos and assist health workers to be better equipped with knowledge and equipment,” said the EU Ambassador to Laos, Ms. Ina Marčiulionytė.

“Together with our partners at WHO and the Lao government, we will continue working to make sure citizens all over Laos receive improved access to healthcare and support. The EU, with the rest of Team Europe, remains committed to supporting the country to build back better and stronger.” Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, infection prevention, and control have been crucial in reducing the spread of the virus in medical facilities, as well as other diseases.

Hundreds of millions of people are affected globally every year by avoidable infections in healthcare, often related to poor sterilization or hygiene practices or equipment. “While no one should catch an infection while receiving healthcare, it does happen, but we can stop it with the right tools and skills,” said WHO Representative Dr. Ying-Ru Lo.

“Infection prevention and control measures are one of the most effective ways to prevent infections including antimicrobial resistant germs in health facilities, and improve the quality and safety of healthcare services.”