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Unicef explains

Dear Sir,

T hank you for the publication of the article by Ms Heng Sok Cheng, "Unicef renews agreement to boost service", on page 5 of the 17-30 June 1994 edition of the Phnom Penh Post. The publicity which your newspaper has regularly given to the work of Unicef is very much appreciated. hank you for the publication of the article by Ms Heng Sok Cheng, "Unicef renews agreement to boost service", on page 5 of the 17-30 June 1994 edition of the Phnom Penh Post. The publicity which your newspaper has regularly given to the work of Unicef is very much appreciated.

I would, however, like to set the record straight concerning the above-mentioned article in which I was misquoted. In particular, the references in paragraphs 3 and 6 to Unicef support are incorrect. I indicated clearly during the interview that Unicef is providing support to the activities of the Royal Government of Cambodia, not the other way around as the article misleadingly indicated. All the government programmes which are receiving support from Unicef are executed by the Government.

The second serious misquote involves the reference to medical supplies, in paragraph 7. As I explained during the interview, all vaccines, essential drugs and medical equipment provided through Unicef to the Government are handed over to the Government's Central Medical Store (CMS) in Phnom Penh. Unicef has an Essential Drugs Officer who provides advice and assistance to the CMS staff.

After the CMS has received shipments of medical supplies and equipment, they are sent out to the provincial health authorities on dates designated by the CMS. The supplies are then collected by district health staff, who in turn make the required supplies available to the commune health centres. The local health authorities use their own methods of transportation.

Also, I did not say, as stated in the article, that we have "provided surplus stock" to any of the provinces. All those medical supplies which are provided through Unicef to the Government are needed by the country's health system - there are never any surplus stocks!

In the remainder of the article where I am quoted, the information is basically correct. However, in the other portions within quotation marks, I would have preferred to have had my explanation used verbatim. Unfortunately, the wording used is not how I expressed myself.

- Robert A.R. Oliver, Information Officer, Unicef Cambodia

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