With Cambodia considered a leading country in controlling and recovering from the Covid-19 crisis, as evidenced by the reopening of the country last November, Prime Minister Hun Sen is now pushing for a stronger healthcare system.
Hun Sen was speaking at the Cambodia Outlook Conference 2022 discussing the Kingdom’s post Covid-19 recovery, held in Phnom Penh on October 6.
“In addition to vaccinations, the government is encouraging investment in the health sector to develop a strong healthcare system, one that can help people and protect them from Covid-19, as well as other pandemics should they arise,” he said.
With Covid-19 endemic across the world, the government has looked to turning the crisis into an opportunity by accelerating deepening reforms to improve the business environment and strengthen Cambodia’s competitiveness.
Or Vandine, secretary of state at the Ministry of Health, said during a meeting of senior leaders at the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA) on September 23 that Covid-19 was not yet over, with the world still dealing with the pandemic.
She said Covid-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment must actively continue, with monitoring and identifying symptoms for suspected infection, while changes in personal healthcare behaviours should be promoted.
“We have to invest in preparation today so that we will not regret it tomorrow. Preparedness is the best way to reduce health and socio-economic impacts,” she said.
Vandine said there must be investment and reform to strengthen the health system for the future, with practising primary healthcare promotion programmes the best investment for achieving health for all.
“A strong health system is a pre-condition for the control of Covid-19 and for future health emergencies,” she said.
World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director for the Western Pacific Takeshi Kasai, during an eight-day visit to the Kingdom in late June and early July, praised Cambodia for its “remarkable” response to Covid-19.
Kasai called for a strong commitment to investing in the health sector for the future, saying the pandemic had taught that when health was at risk, everything was at risk.
“Building on the strong foundations and lessons learnt from the Covid-19 response, Cambodia has WHO’s support to further improve health security and readiness, and strengthen national and sub-national health systems aiming at ensuring the highest possible level of health and wellbeing for the future,” he said.