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The Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security has been working with the Government of Cambodia and partner organisations to strengthen capacities to prepare and respond to health security threats, including COVID-19.

Cambodia undertook a Joint External Evaluation (JEE) and has developed of a costed national action plan. A Performance of Veterinary Services assessment was conducted in Cambodia in 2011.

The Centre conducted a Scoping Mission to Southeast Asia in 2018, and these recommendations helped to inform priorities and propose areas for investment. In March 2019, DFAT opened a call for proposals for activities through the Pacific Infectious Disease Prevention (PIDP) and ASEAN-Pacific Infectious Disease Detection and Response (APIDDaR) programs and in 2020, partners will commence activities to prepare and respond to major health security threats, including COVID-19.

To prepare and respond to COVID-19, Australia supported funding for 20 new ambulances through H-EQIP and provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Health's efforts to set-up contact tracing teams. Two key regional programs, including grants to PSI and the Merieux Foundation, are also providing direct support to Cambodia's COVID-19 response.

The following regional programs have been developed to build health security capacity in Cambodia:

  • Capacity building and field placements for field epidemiology and a partnership with the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh through the ASEAN-Australia Health Security Fellowship program, delivered by the Australian National University. Fellowships will be provided to up to nine students from Southeast Asia.  
  • Collaboration on One Health Economic Research for Systems (COHERES), joint DFAT-ACIAR One Health research project to apply a health systems strengthening approach to veterinary services, implemented by the Nossal Institute for Global Health.
  • Field trials of new tools to protect forest workers from malaria in Mondulkiri Province through the Innovative Vector Control Consortium. Partners include Cambodia’s health and environment ministries, the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria, the World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society and CARE International.
  • Research on incentives for the prevention of avian influenza in Mekong countries, delivered by ACIAR and the Nossal Institute for Global Health.
  • Southeast Asia Laboratory Strengthening (SEALAB), to build capacity in public health and veterinary diagnostic laboratories through national quality assessments, plans of action, and testing guidelines for clinicians and veterinarians, delivered by the Mérieux Foundation. In Cambodia, partners include the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Bureau of Medical Laboratory Services in the Ministry of Health. 
  • Strengthen Preparedness in Asia-Pacific Region through Knowledge (SPARK), a program to improve data collection and use, delivered by the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. Partners in Cambodia include the Pasteur Institute and the National Malaria Control Program.
  • Support for Cambodia’s national medicines regulatory authority through the Indo-Pacific Regulatory Strengthening Program to improve the impact and safety of medical products, in partnership with Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration.
  • Funding for collective action to eliminate malaria across Asia and the Pacific through the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA), and funding for the APLMA/APMEN Secretariat to deliver advocacy and outreach and providing policy guidance. Cambodia’s Ministry of Interior will be a partner in this work.
  • Support for the online health data aggregation, analysis and visualisation platform, Tupaia, which combines data from multiple sources to improve the availability of medicines, map disease outbreaks, respond to disasters and strengthen service provision in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Training in surveillance and outbreak investigation for veterinarians and the para-veterinary workforce, delivered by the University of Sydney and Charles Sturt University. Cambodia’s General Directorate of Animal Health and Production will be a partner in this program, and will support the development of Khmer language training materials
  • A partnership with PSI to strengthen public health emergency operation centres with support for the development of response plans and work to enhance surveillance and case management.
  • Volunteer deployments with partner organisations in Cambodia through the Health Security Corps, including the World Health Organization and the Malaria Consortium.