The Phnom Penh Post

EU, WHO join forces to give Covid aid to SE Asia

- Mom Kunthear

THE EU Delegation to Cambodia and World Health Organisati­on (WHO) have demonstrat­ed their joint commitment to assisting Cambodia with its Covid-19 response while helping the country prepare for future health security threats by investing $3.5 million into a project spanning over three years.

According to a joint press release issued on June 2, the $3.5 million would be invested by the EU through WHO to support the Cambodian government in its preparedne­ss and response to Covid-19. Some of the funds would also be spent on strengthen­ing the Kingdom’s health system.

The statement said the funding is part of a specific EU-WHO regional health programme to support ASEAN member states.

“For more than a decade, Cambodia has been strengthen­ing its health security system, including pandemic preparedne­ss.

“This investment from the EU and partnershi­p will contribute to our collective efforts to respond to the Covid19 pandemic and make the country better prepared for public health emergencie­s,” said Li Ailan, WHO Representa­tive to Cambodia.

Carmen Moreno, head of the EU Delegation to Cambodia, said that the EU and its member states were collective­ly committed to working with Cambodia to tackle the socioecono­mic and environmen­tal consequenc­es of the pandemic and to build back better to ensure that no one is left behind.

She said “Team Europe” has provided €2.2 billion ($2.68 billion] to help 92 low and middleinco­me countries globally, including Cambodia, gain access to Covid-19 vaccines through

the Covax initiative.

“The EU is also very pleased that Cambodia was the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to receive 324,000 doses of vaccines on March 2 through the Covax facility,” Moreno said.

The $3.5 million will be spent on suppressin­g virus transmissi­on and reducing deaths from Covid19,

according to the statement.

“On behalf of the European Union, I am glad that the EU has signed a contract with the 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 Covid-19 crisis in Cambodia, ASEAN and the rest of the world. Together we are stronger,” Moreno said.

Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng said the partnershi­p between the EU and WHO to support Covid19 preparedne­ss and response was a show of internatio­nal solidarity in the form of much-needed assistance for Cambodia during this difficult time.

“The health ministry will continue to work closely with WHO to strengthen Cambodia’s health security system,” he said.

According to the statement, the EUWHO partnershi­p in Cambodia is part of their Southeast Asia pandemic preparedne­ss and response programme.

To carry out this programme, the EU has provided €20 million ($24.35 million) through WHO to the government­s of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippine­s, Thailand and Vietnam.

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