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USAID donates $4 million for Covid fight in Kingdom

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The first batch of 455,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine donated by the US touched down in Phnom Penh on the morning of July 30. Heng Chivoan

USAID donates $4 million for Covid fight in Kingdom

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) on August 9 announced an additional $4 million in urgent Covid-19 assistance for Cambodia.

In a press release, USAID said this assistance will provide timely support to Cambodia, particularly in light of the US’ recent donation of 1,060,100 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines through the World Health Organisation-led Covax Facility.

The funds, it said, are to increase Cambodia’s readiness to administer Covid-19 vaccines, promote vaccinations in eligible populations, provide public health interventions for managing Covid-19 and strengthen laboratories to expand their testing capacity.

US ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy said advancing global health security and disease outbreak preparedness is vital not only to protect health and safety, but also to ensure economic prosperity and defend the security of all countries.

“We are proud to provide this support, which will help Cambodians protect themselves, their neighbours and their economic future,” he said.

He added that this additional assistance funded by the American Rescue Plan legislation voted into law by the US Congress in March of this year built on the more than $11 million in US donated Covid-19 assistance provided to Cambodia since the pandemic began.

He continued that this support has educated more than 10 million Cambodians about the risks of the virus through communication mediums like television, social media, radio, SMS messaging and billboards.

US support has also improved laboratory capacity, strengthened healthcare workers’ skills and helped to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic, he said.

He elaborated that these efforts built on decades of life-saving work and US leadership in tackling global health crises. Since 1992, the US has donated more than $1.54 billion to Cambodia through USAID.

Murphy said this included more than $377 million in assistance to address infant mortality, under-age-five mortality, maternal mortality, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, poor hygiene, poor nutrition, stunting and improving Cambodia’s ability to finance and manage logistics and information for its health systems.

It said the US was committed to partnering with Cambodia to end the Covid-19 pandemic and mitigate its devastating socio-economic impacts while building a world that is even better prepared for future outbreaks.

A Ministry of Health spokeswoman declined to comment on August 9, saying she was in a meeting.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the government welcomed the US government’s assistance to Cambodia in its fight against Covid-19.

“Cambodia and the US have good relations in many areas, including cooperation on the pandemic. This donation highlights that cooperation and the life-saving assistance provided by the US as Cambodia faces the Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

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