Sonesavanh Phimmasine



Sonesavanh Phimmasine

Sonesavanh, or Peck as he is known, has over a decade of experience on risk communication, infection prevention and control with an emphasis on vulnerable groups in remote areas.

As a national officer in the World Health Emergency Unit of the World Health Organization (WHO) Laos office, Peck supports national surveillance, risk assessment, and emergency response strategies for infectious diseases including influenza, measles, rubella, and COVID-19. His commitment to health equity became particularly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initially, COVID-19 testing in Laos was limited to a central laboratory, which prioritized samples based on risk, inadvertently disadvantaging the poor and high-risk individuals who had less access to testing. Recognizing these disparities, Peck initiated a plan to work with the Ministry of Health to decentralize COVID-19 testing capabilities.

His efforts led to the establishment of provincial laboratories capable of confirming COVID-19 cases. Management of dengue has also required his attention, with ethnic minorities often receiving less attention from health care workers due to language, education, and financial barriers with potentially fatal consequences. His dream is to build greater human capacity and in turn, provide better opportunities for the people of Laos to contribute to the greater goal of health equity.