EU and WHO to Support COVID-19 Preparedness and Health System in Cambodia
AKP Phnom Penh, June 02, 2021 --
The European Union (EU) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have announced their joined forces to support preparedness for and response to COVID-19 and future health security threats in Cambodia.
On a joint news release issued on June 2, the European Union is investing a total of more than €2.8 million (US$3.5 million) over three years, through WHO, to support the Royal Government of Cambodia’s preparedness and response to COVID-19, and to strengthen health system. This funding is part of a specific EU-WHO regional health programme to support ASEAN member states.
"Partnership between the EU and WHO to support COVID-19 preparedness and response is an indication of solidarity and cooperation for helping the country during the difficult time. The Ministry of Health will continue to work closely with WHO to strengthen Cambodia’s health security system," said H.E. Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health.
For more than a decade, Cambodia has been strengthening its health security system, including pandemic preparedness, said Dr. Li Ailan, WHO Representative to Cambodia.
“This investment from the EU and partnership will contribute to our collective efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and make the country better prepared for public health emergencies,” she added.
The European Union and its member states, as “Team Europe”, are collectively committed to working with Cambodia to tackle the social, economic and environmental consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, to build back better, ensuring that no one is left behind. "Team Europe has to-date provided € 2.2 billion, to help 92 low and middle-income countries, including Cambodia, to help gain access to COVID-19 vaccines – the COVAX facility. We are proud that Team Europe is the largest contributor to the facility. The EU is also very pleased that Cambodia was the first country in the Asia-Pacific region receiving 324,000 doses of vaccine on Mar. 2, 2021 through the COVAX facility,” said H.E Ms. Carmen Moreno, Ambassador of the European Union to Cambodia.
"On behalf of the European Union, I am glad that the EU has signed a contract with WHO to strengthen Cambodia’s capacity to respond to the pandemic and build up a resilient health system. This support comes now when it is most needed. Solidarity and collective action are essential to overcome the COVID19 crisis in Cambodia, in ASEAN and in the rest of the world. Together we are stronger!,” she said.
In line with the International Health Regulations (2005), the Global Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan and as guided by the Asia Pacific strategy for emerging diseases and public health emergencies (APSED III), this new investment aims to strengthen health systems and to support COVID-19 preparedness and response in Cambodia, including through reaching the unreached approach. The funds will be used to:
• Mobilise various sectors and communities to ensure participation in prevention, preparedness and response;
• Respond to sporadic cases, clusters and community transmission;
• Suppress virus transmission; and
• Reduce deaths from COVID-19.
As part of WHO’s ongoing work to support the Royal Government of Cambodia, it has been coordinating the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been intensifying its engagement and collaboration with technical and operational partners, as well as other stakeholders. The EU is a welcome addition to the partners responding to COVID-19 in Cambodia.
By Heng Panha