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US, Australia funding flows for Cambodia’s COVID-19 response

Som Kanika / Khmer Times Share:
US Ambassador Patrick Murphy speaks during the meeting with the Health Ministry officials. US Embassy

The United States, through the US Agency for International Development, yesterday committed a $1.5 million aid to the Ministry of Health to help in the Kingdom’s efforts to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. The donation is the latest COVID-19 assistance from the US, with its total coronavirus aid to Cambodia currently amounting to over $3.5 million.

The aid will be allocated for the Health Ministry’s anti-epidemic initiatives, including infection prevention and control, information dissemination and education and enforcement of widespread testing for the disease.

During the meeting with Health Minister Mam Bun Heng, US Ambassador Patrick Murphy said: “Defeating

the pandemic is a global challenge and the United States is working both at home and abroad to stop the spread of the disease”.

“Our additional assistance will help Cambodia’s health system track [COVID-19 cases], treat those who are sick and prevent further transmission of COVID-19.”, He added that Royal Government of Cambodia and the United States government have shared a long history of productive and effective partnership in strengthening health systems, addressing infectious diseases and improving health outcomes for Cambodians, the region and the world. “With even a greater determination, we continue this collaboration with [the] Cambodian people in the face of the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19.” Mr Murphy said.

The US has provided health assistance through an inter-agency team with the USAID, the US Centres

for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes for Health, the US Naval Medical Research Unit-2, the US Department of State and other organisations.

Concurrently, Australia today committed AUD 40 million ($26 million) for the Cambodian Health Equity and Quality Improvement Programme (H-EQIP), pledging to provide a further AUD 10 million ($6.5 million) over the next two years for the programme, which is implemented jointly by the World Bank and the Cambodian government.

In a speech, Australian Ambassador Pablo Kang said: “As a neighbour and long-standing friend of Cambodia, Australia has a stake in the health and welfare of Cambodians. Over the past decade, we have provided over AUD 150 million ($97 million) in aid to modernise the country’s healthcare services, which in recent years has involved a focus on strengthening the health financing system.”

Earlier this month, AUD 21 million ($13.6 million) of the H-EQIP fund was rapidly allocated to purchase 20 ambulances and medical equipment as well as develop Cambodia’s laboratories to respond to COVID-19.

“[The] Australian approach is about empowering [the] Cambodian government, private sector and civil society to implement coordinated measures for the benefit of all the people,” said the ambassador.

In addition to its long-term work of improving the quality of public health service nationwide, H-EQIP also mobilised the emergency funding to enable the Cambodian government to fund immediate COVID-19 needs.

This initiative also includes promoting food security and rural livelihood opportunities for those who lose jobs in the city, supporting women who are experiencing gender-based violence, delivering personal protective equipment and improving accessibility to COVID-19 information to Cambodians with a disability.

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