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WHO Representative in Cambodia Li Ailan (front left) and Ministry of Health Spokesperson Or Vandine (front right) during orientation workshops on “Community Involvement to Strengthen Covid-19 Monitoring” 19 and other respiratory diseases” in Kampong Cham province on June 16. HEALTH MINISTRY

Senior Health Ministry official says orientation workshops on “community involvement to strengthen monitoring of Covid-19 and other respiratory diseases” held in several provinces will change attitudes of local communities, increase care primary health care and will ensure a rapid response to many other diseases.

Or Vandine – spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and head of the national Covid-19 vaccination committee – advised communities in Kampong Thom and Preah Vihear provinces on primary health care needs. She was accompanied by the WHO representative in Cambodia Li Ailan, medical specialists and WHO officials.

The visits aimed to increase primary health care, particularly community involvement in tracking Covid-19 and other respiratory diseases. She also inspected vaccination posts at various locations in the two provinces.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Kampong Cham workshop on June 16, Vandine said that changing attitudes towards primary health care would not only come through training, but above all through community activities. Things like community health forums and follow-ups would identify community issues and needs and enable 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 augment primary healthcare in response to other contagious diseases in the future. This should lead to healthier villages and townships and a longer life for residents,” she said.

Vandine said Cambodia had Covid-19 under control, as evidenced by the month-long trend of zero new reported cases. Based on the pandemic response, community participation was crucial to implement protection against contagious diseases.

“Although we have the virus under control, we are not 100% safe. Our safety depends on people participating in getting vaccinated and monitoring the Covid-19 situation. Accurate reporting is key to planning a response,” she said.

The director of the Kampong Thom provincial health department, Srey Sin, said community roles were important because local people usually had the big 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 the participation of the community, we managed to curb the Covid-19,” he said. “The Ministry of Health has worked hard, but without public involvement this would not have been possible. This workshop will bear good fruit in dealing with future contagious diseases.