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UPF: Hun Sen a ‘role model’ for world leaders

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A woman receives her Covid-19 booster at a school in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district earlier this month. Heng Chivoan

UPF: Hun Sen a ‘role model’ for world leaders

The South Korea-based Universal Peace Federation (UPF) said Prime Minister Hun Sen should be a role model for world leaders because of Cambodia’s successful Covid-19 vaccination drive which has seen over 90 per cent of the target population aged 6 and older vaccinated.

UPF director-general Yun Young-ho made the remarks during a meeting with the prime minister at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on October 20.

“Dr Yun Young-ho … said this is a model example of leadership not just for the Republic of Korea, but for the whole world,” said a post on Hun Sen’s official Facebook page after the meeting.

Founded in 2005 by the late Reverend Dr Sun Myung-moon of the Unification Church – a Christian denomination he established in South Korea in 1954 – UPF calls itself an international and inter-religious network of individuals and organisations with representatives from religion, government, civil society and the private sector who are all dedicated to achieving world peace.

Hun Sen was previously recognised by the UPF with a Leadership and Good Governance Medal in 2019 and a World Summit Peace Gold Medal last September.

According to the Ministry of Health on October 19, over 85 per cent of Cambodia’s total population of around 16 million is now vaccinated, with nearly 13 million people having received their second dose.

The country has vaccinated 99.58 per cent of the adult population of 10 million, 99.42 per cent of the 6-11 age group of nearly 1.9 million, and 90.4 per cent of the 12-17 age group of nearly two million.

The government is continuing the third-dose campaign across the country, with more than 1.6 million people having received their booster shot to date.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said in his national address on October 19 that Covid-19 vaccines were a fortress sheltering the people and that Cambodia is fortunate to have enough jabs for all the people through the assistance of friendly countries, especially China, Japan, the US, the UK, as well as Covax – a global initiative aimed at ensuring equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.

He said that Cambodia had also been able to order a large number of vaccines to purchase on its own from Chinese producers for a total of 38 million doses so far.

“We have a plan to go door-to-door to vaccinate people in villages in case some people cannot travel to the vaccination sites and to reach out to those in remote areas as well,” he said.

Minister of National Defence Tea Banh also praised the results of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign and called on all people to continue to implement measures to prevent the coronavirus even if they have already been vaccinated.

“We all have to practice the three do’s and three don’ts in order to defeat Covid-19 on this battlefield,” he said in a Facebook post.

Li Ailan, the World Health Organisation representative to Cambodia, on October 19 said it was crucial that people get fully vaccinated and especially important for vulnerable populations like the elderly, those with chronic health conditions, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.

“Safe and effective vaccines help reduce severe disease and prevent death! Reaching the unreached is vital,” she tweeted.

Li said it was unfortunate that some unvaccinated pregnant women had already lost their lives to Covid-19, perhaps because they were under the impression that the vaccine was not safe for women in their circumstances.

“Such tragedies are largely preventable with safe and effective vaccines available now. Get fully vaccinated if it is your turn, especially pregnant women,” she said in the tweet.

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