Kol Hero, director of the Preventive Medicine Department at the Ministry of Health, emphasised that collaborative efforts addressing four key risk factors—quitting tobacco, limiting alcohol consumption, adopting a healthy diet and incorporating regular exercise—could prevent up to 80 per cent of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

At the opening ceremony of the World Diabetes Day 2023 campaign organised recently by the Ministry of Health, the Korea Association of Health Promotion (KAHP) and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Cambodia, Hero highlighted that NCDs threaten national economic development, affecting families and hindering the achievement of Cambodian Millennium Development Goals. 

The high treatment costs, disability, and loss of labour forces caused by NCDs all contribute to poverty.

Underscoring that the prevention and control of NCDs require collective action, he stressed that success involves the participation of all parties, including ministries, institutions, organisations, civil society partners, philanthropists and the private sector, with each individual playing a crucial role.

Former Prime Minister Hun Sen approved the National Multisectoral Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases 2018-2027. This plan serves as a mechanism for ministries, institutions and civil society partners to collaborate in reducing the risk of NCDs.

“The health ministry is implementing a programme to enhance health screening and research quality, ensuring equity among those with or at risk of NCDs. The aim is timely treatment and providing advice on reducing or avoiding risk factors associated with these diseases,” Hero stated.

He also called upon relevant ministries, institutions and development partners to prioritise NCDs and collaborate to alleviate the burden of preventable diseases.

Seohyeon Yang, deputy country director of KOICA, stated during the event that aligning with the Cambodian government’s five strategies, KOICA is committed to assisting all Cambodians in leading healthier lives. This involves enhancing public healthcare facilities, bolstering the capacity of healthcare services and supporting the Health Equity Fund.

“I trust that the campaign on World Diabetes Day, observed on November 14, serves as an opportunity to understand the gravity of NCDs, including diabetes and high blood pressure, and fosters awareness about the significance of preventing these conditions,” she said.

In line with NCD prevention efforts, the health ministry arranged a “Walk to Fight Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD)” on November 12 at the National Olympic Stadium. The event, supported by the Department of Health Protection and private sector co-sponsors, drew the participation of over 200 individuals.

During the event, Ngov Kang, secretary of state at the ministry, pointed to the advantages of maintaining a regular exercise routine and a balanced diet. These practices including avoiding excess salt, sugar and fat not only help prevent NCDs but also mitigate various associated health risks.

“Minimising smoking and alcohol consumption is essential, as these factors act as triggers for diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer,” he said.

Established in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation with World Health Organization support, World Diabetes Day addresses health and economic threats posed by diabetes. Designated an official UN day in 2006, it highlights diabetes prevalence, effects and promotes its awareness, prevention and treatment.