Learning from China's Experience to Improve the Ability of Response to COVID-19 in Asia and the Pacific Region


The “Learning from China's Experience to Improve the Ability of Response to COVID-19 in Asia and the Pacific Region” addresses challenges in medical waste management and public advocacy, aiming at leaving no one behind in the fight against COVID-19. This regional project is implemented in five countries - Lao People's Democratic Republic, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Nepal, funded by the People’s Republic of China through the South-South Cooperation Assistance Funds (SSCAF). Through this project, UNDP provides technical support for Lao PDR to upgrade its medical waste treatment system, enhance the health and sanitation capabilities of the frontline workers, and promote advocacy and communication on prevention and protection to the public.


Despite the relative success in containing the COVID-19 infections in its onset, Lao PDR is now facing significant challenges in medical waste management amidst the ongoing outbreak.  At the beginning of this project, an estimated peak medical waste was 1,800kg/day in Vientiane and 322kg/day in each province. Great majority of the municipalities lack capacity to handle this amount of medical waste.

In addition, it is crucial to advocate the public to follow effective prevention actions, as well as appropriate countermeasures to take in case they tested positive and/or the symptoms appear. The rural population tend to have less access to information and communication channels to express their opinions, particularly vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities and the poor.

This regional project addresses challenges in medical waste management and public communication through capacity building and logistical support to the government of Lao PDR.

Major Achievements/ Objectives:

o   Creating a WASH FIT training video and textbook for healthcare frontline workers, including safe treatment of medical waste and hygienic health care practices.

o   Conducting training to the 21 District hospitals on WASH FIT assessment tool with a focus on medical waste management.

o   Providing necessary equipment and materials for protecting the health care workers and safely treating medical waste.

o   Developing creative advocacy, information sharing, and communication materials including billboards, posters, and airport announcements, for protection against COVID-19.

o   Promoting information sharing and discussion on the pandemic through community radio programs in the rural areas of the northern Lao PDR.

Project Outcome:

1. Provision of technical support on COVID-19 healthcare waste treatment to contain the epidemic and protect the environment

2. Provision of advocacy, information sharing and communication support on COVID-19 to the poor and vulnerable groups

3. Communication and visibility of the project at local level

GESI (Gender Equality & Social Inclusion) component

This project aims at providing advocacy and communication support, as well as response measures against COVID-19 for everyone in Lao PDR, especially vulnerable groups including those who are poor, illiterate, or who live in the remote areas, to ensure they can equally benefit from the government interventions for staying safe and healthy.

For the information sharing activity, one of the main target beneficiaries are the people in the remote areas in the northern Lao PDR, including the minority ethnic groups and/or those living under the poverty threshold. This project utilizes UNDP’s on-going support for the Community Radio network (in 9 districts in 6 provinces) as an effective communication tool to convey accurate information and stimulate local dialogues about COVID-19 prevention.

Related Materials

News: Official Project Launch of the Learning from China's Experience to Improve the Response to COVID-19 in the Asia and Pacific Region

Blog: Safe disposal of medical waste - throwing away isn’t enough (Lao, English)

Project details:

Status: Ongoing

Start Date: March 2020

End Date:  June 2022

Project Office: UNDP in Lao PDR

Focus Area: Health , Waste Management, Hygiene and Health Promotion

Collaborating Partners:

  • Ministry of Health: Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, Department of Health Care and Rehabilitation MOH, Center of Information and Education Health
  • Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism: Department of Mass and Media.
  • UNDP as the Implementing Partner is collaborating with WHO in Lao PDR for this project.