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China to donate new infectious disease lab

China to donate new infectious disease lab

Cambodia and China inked a deal yesterday to build a new communicable disease control facility in the Kingdom for the country to expand its capacity to detect and respond to communicable disease outbreaks, such as Zika and Ebola, in a timely fashion.

Ministry of Health spokesman Ly Sovann said both countries signed a memorandum of understanding on the new building near the Health Ministry, which China will donate.

Sovann, who is also the director of the ministry’s Department of Communicable Diseases, said construction should start “very soon”, and the building should be completed in about two years.

“We requested that China support us because it’s very important, [given] new emerging diseases,” he said, though he was unable to say how much China was donating.

Both countries will also collaborate on training and exchange expertise. The Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh did not respond to a request for comment.

Sovann said the new facility will help Cambodia implement recommendations from an independent assessment conducted last year.

Vicky Houssiere, WHO communications officer in Cambodia, said the Kingdom was the first country in the region to undergo the new kind of evaluation – a Joint External Evaluation – last August and September.

Houssiere said she was unable to discuss the evaluation’s findings, which haven’t been released yet, but said “recommendations were provided and integrated into the National Action plan 2016-2020”.

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