A World Health Organisation representative said on Thursday that Cambodia should expect a new normal with smart public health practices all the time. Cambodia and the UN Country Team (UNCT) laid out more than 10 priorities in fighting Covid-19 and dealing with its aftermath.
In the first meeting with the government’s Inter-ministerial Anti-Covid-19 Committee, WHO representative Dr Li Ailan said a “new normal” was a smart choice for a new way of living and a new way of working in the future.
“The world cannot go back to the way things were. Cambodians should expect a new normal where handwashing, cough etiquette, and physical distancing measures are part of everyday life. Making schools and workplaces safe is another example of the new normal.
“These are smart public health practices all the time – not just during an outbreak like this one. Community engagement is essential,” she said.
Ailan said Covid-19 has provided us with an opportunity to invest and transform health systems to be fit for the future. She said Cambodia should still be vigilant and warned of a second wave of transmission.
In her remarks in the meeting, Ailan said the Covid-19 pandemic has taught a simple and important lesson.
“Investment in health and in pandemic preparedness is an investment in economic and social development. They are two sides of the same coin,” she said.
The Ministry of Health said in a press release on Friday that the meeting focused on three priority areas, including readiness and emergency for large-scale community transmission, multi-sector and necessary response mechanisms at national and regional levels and potential support and engagement from the UNCT.
It said following the discussion, Cambodia decided on nine priorities to be carried out now, including continuing to implement the existing master plan, strengthening the health system through training and capacity building, and assessing measures put into practice such as social and physical distancing and the closure of some gathering places.
The ministry wrote that Cambodia also prioritised the protection and support of vulnerable groups, strengthening coordination with relevant stakeholders in the fight against the virus and providing better health services.
It urged the participation at individual and community levels to maintain existing measures in order to prevent a second wave.
The other three priorities included using Information Technology to control and track cases and analyse the transmission situation, mobilising resources, and cooperating with UN agencies and the private sector.
The ministry said the UNCT supported the priorities Cambodia had committed to, but they also emphasised their support in health and socioeconomic responses, coordinated and implemented by WHO and relevant stakeholders.