US oil company's $35,000 health initiative launched officially as licence to operate in Cambodia comes up for renewal in March.
CHEVRON Overseas Petroleum marked the official launch Tuesday of a US$35,000 tuberculosis- and HIV-prevention program in Phnom Penh and Sihanouk province, in an attempt to lower the number of deaths caused by the diseases over the next year.
In opening remarks at the launch event, held at the InterContinental in Phnom Penh, Gerard Flaherty, an executive for Chevron Asia South Ltd, said the company is committed to fighting tuberculosis and HIV/Aids, adding that efforts to combat the diseases would improve the health of both the Kingdom and its businesses.
Quoting Bjorn Stigson, president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Flaherty said: "Businesses can't succeed in failed societies."
The program, which will end in September and will be coordinated by the NGO Pact Cambodia, is designed to provide technical support to the government's own disease-fighting initiatives.
Pact Vice President Kurt MacLeod said he believed the program would, in addition to fighting HIV and tuberculosis, "ensure that the principles of social responsibility are met, as well as protocols to operate in this country, for the benefit of Cambodian citizens".
Chevron in Cambodia
Chevron has operated in Cambodia since 1995, when it set up a network of Caltex retail service stations throughout the country, along with a marine depot.
The American corporation in July 2006 signed a joint study agreement with the Cambodian government for Block A, a section of the Gulf of Thailand, to develop oil and gas. Chevron's licence is due to expire in March this year, when it will be up for renewal.
Khun Kim Eam, head of the planning and statistics unit of the National Centre for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control, said 11,658 people died of tuberculosis in Cambodia in 2008.
In 2007, 7.8 percent of tuberculosis patients also had HIV, and 123,100 people aged 15 to 49 were infected with the virus, he said.