IOM Supports Facility Upgrades and Provides Essential Equipment to the Most Frequently Used Point of Entry in Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Lao People’s Democratic Republic – On 22 January, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) observed upgraded facilities and handed over essential equipment to Wattay International Airport, following the completion of the joint mapping assessment and trainings of frontline officials across three points of entry (PoEs) in the previous year.
The team observed 12 newly installed handwashing stations, 30 protective glass shields at immigration counters, cybersecurity lanes and 12 LED screens for display of COVID-19 information and handed over five computers, one projector, two cameras and four printers for enhanced operational preparedness and response capacities of frontline officials to COVID-19. Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I and Luang Prabang Airport also benefited from the support.
Pol. Col. Saysaming Sivilay, the Director General of Immigration Department, General Department of Public Security, Ministry of Public Security, thanked IOM for continuous support throughout the project phases, emphasizing the team’s joint success in addressing the challenges faced by frontline officials at international border check points.
Shareen Tuladhar, Chief of Mission of IOM Lao PDR, added: “COVID-19 pandemic has not only been a health crisis but a crisis of mobility across the globe, which makes effective border management, especially ensuring the health and safety of frontline officials, a crucial step to our COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.”
The initial PoE mapping assessment ran from 28 August to 21 October in 2020, in which existing capacities of infrastructure, processes and personnel to respond to a virus outbreak were assessed. The teams identified needs of personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning chemicals, upgrade of isolation facilities and rooms, enforcement of physical distancing and information, education and communication (IEC) materials.
Based on the needs identified, IOM handed over PPE to each PoE to ensure safe and effective border management during the pandemic. A total of 86,134 pieces of equipment including surgical masks, surgical gloves, goggles, hand sanitizers, face shields, handheld thermometers and disinfection sprays were distributed.
The assessments also informed the development of a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), based on which 154 frontline officials were trained across the three PoEs. The joint SOP trainings led by IOM, MoPS, the Ministry of Health, World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) sought to equip officials with necessary knowledge and experience needed to effectively manage suspected and/or probable COVID-19 cases at border crossing points.
IOM will continue to consult with MoPS and other related line ministries to finalize the SOP, which will help to formalize the response processes for frontline officials amid public health emergencies.
Under its Health, Border and Mobility Management Framework, IOM sets to improve the prevention, detection and response to the spread of diseases at points of origin, transit, destination and return.
This activity is part of IOM’s regional Mekong project Responding to cross mobility challenges at points of entry during the COVID-19 outbreak, with funding from the Australian Government.
Under the project Support on responding to cross mobility challenges at points of entry in Lao People’s Democratic Republic funded by the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund, similar assistance was provided to seven other PoEs across the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
For more information, please contact Suhyun PARK at IOM Vientiane. Tel. + 856 (0)55 136 294. Email: [email protected]