To strengthen healthcare in Cambodia, India plans to encourage more investment in the sector.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn and Indian Ambassador Dr Devyani Uttam Khobragade met to discuss cooperation between the two countries yesterday.
Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said that during the nearly two-hour meeting, the Ambassador said India will encourage investors to invest in the health sector in Cambodia, especially to consider the possibility of building public or private hospitals.
“[She] is discussing and working with the Cambodian Ministry of Health to examine its needs,” Kuong said.
Dr Khobragade told Khmer Times last week that in response to Cambodia’s request for vaccines and in keeping with India’s commitment to help all of humanity fight the COVID-19 pandemic, supplies under grant assistance to Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and the Seychelles would begin, starting on Wednesday last week.
“In respect of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius, we are awaiting their confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances,” she said.
“I have transmitted the message to the government of India. [It] has received several requests for the supply of Indian manufactured vaccines from neighbouring and key partner countries,” Dr Khobragade said.
Khobragade also said, keeping in view the domestic requirements of the phased rollout, India will continue to supply COVID-19 vaccines to partner countries over the coming weeks and months in a phased manner. It will be ensured that domestic manufacturers will have adequate stock to meet the requirements while supplying abroad.
“India reaffirmed its position as the pharma capital of the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic last year sending Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and paracetamol to 150 countries. When it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, India has assured that its vaccines will be for the entire humanity, with priority being given to neighbours and key partners of India,” she added.
On January 18, Prime Minister Hun Sen met with Ambassador Khobragade and requested that she ask the Prime Minister of India Narendra Damodardas Modi to provide vaccines to Cambodia, as India has produced its own COVID-19 vaccine and plans to give it to more than 300 million people in this year as well.
Mr Hun Sen said he had already written a letter to the Prime Minister of India requesting that the vaccine be given to the people.
He clarified the reason why he decided to accept donations of the Chinese vaccine, even though the World Health Organization has not yet officially approved it, saying it is no longer possible to wait.
Mr Hun Sen has also considered writing letters requesting vaccines from South Korea and the United Kingdom.
He said the first phase of Sinopharm vaccines will arrive in Cambodia in February, and that he will go directly to the airport to receive the vaccine. “Vaccination is based on a voluntary principle. Anyone who doesn’t want to be vaccinated will not be forced.”