Cambodia and Cuba have agreed to further strengthen and foster health cooperation between the two countries, as well as collaborate on training medical human resources in 2023, following a visit to the island nation by one of the Kingdom’s top health officials.

Ministry of Health secretary of state Or Vandine paid a formal visit to Cuba from December 11-19 to strengthen cooperation under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on September 24 between the health ministries of the two nations.

In a December 17 press release on the outcomes of Vandine’s visit, the ministry said the MoU focused on the possibility of cooperation on medicines for the treatment of cancer and diabetes, vaccines for children and for Covid-19, provision of medical equipment, and Cuban medical training for Cambodian medical students and doctors in both general and specialised human resource areas.

It said the two sides had agreed on some points to boost their health sectors, such as the Cuban side exploring the possibility of adding medical scholarships for Cambodian students and training in oncology and cancer treatments for some Cambodian doctors.

“The Cuban side has agreed to send cancer and diabetes specialists to train our doctors or to allow them to undergo this training in Cuba. The specialist teams of the two sides will continue to prepare a concrete plan outlining specific needs and scheduling,” it said.

As for the treatment of diabetes, Cambodia requested Cuba’s assistance with products for the treatment of ulcers caused by diabetes to minimise the risk of amputating the arms and legs of patients.

The ministry added that in addition to assisting with medical supplies, Cambodian doctors will have to undergo some training in their use by Cuban specialists.

Cuba plans to send a team to visit Cambodia in 2023 for further discussions and to explore further opportunities for cooperation.

The Cuban side will also work with relevant parties to renew medicine and vaccine registrations for Cuban products circulated in Cambodia as well as continue to bring in new medicines and medical equipment to the Kingdom.

“Cuba has agreed that this work will begin in 2023, with our side having to formally and put a clear emphasis in writing on the above needs through diplomatic mechanisms,” the ministry said.

“I was given the opportunity to pay a formal visit to Cuba, where I am learning about their system for primary healthcare. We have also exchanged viewpoints with the drug regulatory authority and fostered further cooperation as part of my trip,” Vandine tweeted.

She noted that the Cuban department of production and management of pharmaceuticals functions as part of a cooperative centre with the World Health Organisation (WHO), and that Cuban cancer and diabetes drugs are recognised for their quality and distributed throughout the world.

During their visit to Cuba, the Cambodian delegation also toured vaccines inspection and production centres and a pharmaceutical production centre where cancer and diabetes drugs are manufactured as well as touring Cuba’s national cancer hospital and health centre.