Senior officials of the City Cancer Challenge Foundation (C/Can) have visited Cambodia to learn about cancer care in the country, and especially Phnom Penh, as the capital has been selected as a candidate for the City Cancer Challenge, according to the Ministry of Health.

The ministry said on May 18 that its secretary of state Or Vandine welcomed the C/Can delegation, which was led by Susan Henshall, CEO of the Geneva-based foundation.

Vandine, who is also head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee, informed them of the results of the government’s efforts to contain the pandemic and the success of its vaccination campaign.

The C/Can delegation offered their congratulations and applauded the ministry for its work in controlling Covid-19 to the point where all sectors of the country could reopen.

According to the ministry, Henshall told Vandine that the main purpose of their visit was to learn about cancer care in Cambodia.

“Phnom Penh has been selected as a candidate for the City Cancer Challenge project. Our delegation will visit related infrastructure and assess the diagnostic capacity and cancer treatment of several national hospitals in Phnom Penh,” she said.

Henshall said the project’s activities would be carried out in accordance with the Kingdom’s National Health Strategic Plan and the specific needs of the cancer sector in Cambodia.

Vandine requested that C/Can study the possibility of integrating digital health and the primary healthcare booster (PHC Booster) project to achieve Global Universal Health Coverage.

She also asked for more discussions with the Department of Health Protection and highlighted the key points required in order to reach a memorandum of understanding.

C/Can was launched by the Union for International Cancer Control at the 2017 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

The launch was a coordinated response to the urgent need to support resource-limited countries in reducing their growing cancer burden. It was also a recognition of the untapped potential of taking an integrated approach to three of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): health, sustainable cities and partnerships.

On May 17, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the health ministry to transform Luang Mae Hospital into a specialist cancer hospital.

“I have heard that a great many Cambodian people who suffer from cancer go abroad for treatment. We must establish Luang Mae as a specialist hospital,” said the premier.