A project to strengthen health systems to prevent, detect and respond to infectious diseases in Cambodia worth about $8.5 million was signed by a senior official of the Ministry of Health and officials of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica) in Cambodia on Friday.
This five-year project which will begin in 2021 was signed by ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine and Koica country director Rho Hyujun.
Vandine told The Post on Sunday that with technical assistance of the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC) Cambodia office, the project was designed to improve the quality of surveillance systems, infectious diseases laboratories, human resources and emergency response systems.
The programme will be administered by the ministry to achieve its commitment to the 2005 International Health Regulations.
Vandine said: “Koica in Cambodia which has helped the health sector has always had good cooperation with the Ministry of Health.
“[The partnership has helped] infrastructure construction in hospitals like Preah Ang Duong Hospital, Batheay Referral Hospital and Siem Reap Provincial Hospital, especially given the circumstances that we have been fighting against Covid-19.”
A Koica press release said the USCDC’s Cambodia office will work with the ministry to strengthen the national laboratory system, build the capacity of public health personnel, including field epidemiologists, and establish emergency management at the national and sub-national levels.
The first phase of the Koica project started in 2017 with $3 million in funding via cooperation with the USCDC and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Cambodia.
For the last three years, Koica has conducted the project to expand immunisation coverage and strengthen the cold chain system (cold storage system) in some provinces including Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Stung Treng, Preah Vihear and Kratie provinces.
The new project will continue to support the training of field epidemiologists so each district has an epidemiologist by the end of the project. They will be able to inspect the outbreak of any suspected cases in the area and follow up on those found.
Also, Koica will keep building the Laboratory Quality Management System (LQMS) and Laboratory Information System (LIS) in 49 public laboratories in the country and strengthen specimen transportation capacity.
The project aims to ensure all public laboratories are equipped with more accurate and reliable diagnostics to detect infectious diseases. This year, Koica’s Cambodia office will disburse $1 million.