Japanese Aid to Boost Safe Vaccine Delivery

  • Phoung Vantha
  • April 1, 2021 1:53 PM

Funds will help keep jabs chilled during distribution

PHNOM PENH--Japan has donated about $1 million to Cambodia to improve safe distribution of COVID-19 vaccines through UNICEF.

"Nearly $1million of this funding will support the Royal Government of Cambodia in its COVID-19 vaccination efforts, particularly targeted at improving cold chain capabilities through enhanced infrastructure, equipment, transportation and training for healthcare staff," UNICEF Cambodia said.

UNICEF Cambodia said cold chain capabilities are essential to transporting vaccines that need to remain cool to be effective, including the new COVID-19 vaccines.

In Dec. 2020, UNICEF and other partners assessed Cambodia's cold chain capacity and identified areas that this new funding will help strengthen.

"The grant will therefore boost Cambodia’s health system capacity as it rolls out the largest and most rapid vaccination program in its history," UNICEF Cambodia said.

Mikami Masahiro, Japan’s ambassador to  Cambodia, said UNICEF’s long experience of working with the Cambodian government on immunization programs is why Japan feels confident that the grant will have a huge positive impact on the vaccination roll-out.

"We will continue to cooperate with both UNICEF and the Cambodian Government until we can truly say that together we have contained and recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.

Foroogh Foyouzat, UNICEF representative in Cambodia, said the pandemic knows no borders, and vaccines must reach the people at greatest risk. The funds provided by Japan will be invaluable in helping the NGO to continue supporting the Cambodian government with the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines while strengthening the health system.

“We’re so grateful that the Government of Japan has again stepped in to support Cambodia at this time of need, especially with COVID-19 cases on the rise,” she said.

As of March 31, the number of vaccinated Cambodians had risen slightly to 407,249 but 140,902 of these were military personnel while the others were citizens considered a priority.

Japan has donated $36.9 million to UNICEF’s East Asia and Pacific Region to improve cold chain management in 12 countries impacted by COVID-19.

It also contributed $200 million to the COVAX facility, an international mechanism led by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and other key partners to ensure and accelerate equitable access to vaccines in the developing world.

UNICEF Cambodia spokesman Bunly Meas said the organization has long supported the Health Ministry on cold chain capabilities. The grant will therefore boost the the existing cold chain program capacity.

He said the cold chain program will expand to provincial referral hospitals, health centers and to health officers who go to remote areas across the country.

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