A senior Ministry of Health official said that orientation workshops on “community participation to strengthen Covid-19 tracking and other respiratory diseases” held in several provinces will change local community attitudes, increase primary healthcare and ensure a swift response to many other diseases.
Or Vandine – health ministry spokeswoman and head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee – advised communities in Kampong Thom and Preah Vihear provinces on primary health care requirements. She was accompanied by WHO representative to Cambodia Li Ailan, medical specialists and WHO officials.
The visits aimed to increase primary healthcare, especially community participation in tracking Covid-19 and other respiratory diseases. She also inspected vaccination stations at various locations in the two provinces.
Speaking at the June 16 closing ceremony of the Kampong Cham workshop, Vandine said changes in attitudes to primary healthcare would not only come through the training, but more importantly through community activities. Things like community health forums and follow-ups would identify the problems and needs of communities and allow them to plan.
People needed to understand the benefits of tracking their health and recording accurate information, she added.
“This workshop was not only in response to Covid-19, but will also increase primary healthcare in response to other contagious diseases in the future. This should lead to healthier villages and communes and longer lives for the residents,” she said.
Vandine said Cambodia had controlled Covid-19, as could be seen by the month-long trend of zero new cases being reported. Based on the pandemic response, community participation was crucial to implementing protection against contagious diseases.
“Although we have brought the virus under control, we are not 100 per cent safe. Our safety depends on people’s participation in getting vaccinated and tracking the Covid-19 situation. Accurate reporting is essential in planning a response,” she said.
Kampong Thom provincial health department director Srey Sin said community roles were important because local people generally had a broad picture of the health of their communities. Medical officials could help them with technical training.
“This workshop brought together more than 40 people. Thanks to community participation, we managed to curb Covid-19,” he said. “The health ministry has worked hard, but without the involvement of the public, it would not have been possible. This workshop will bear good fruit in dealing with future contagious diseases.”