Australia partners with UNICEF towards equitable and integrated COVID-19 vaccination and routine immunization services
Takeo province, 30 May 2023 – A joint delegation of H.E. Dr. Prak Sophonneary, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Health, the Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, H.E. Justin Whyatt, and UNICEF Representative in Cambodia, Dr. Will Parks began a two-day visit to Takeo province today to observe primary health care services and integrated service delivery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The visit focused on meeting with local authorities, including the Provincial Governor, medical staff and local communities to discuss the impact of the support provided by Australia and UNICEF to COVID-19 vaccination efforts as part of integrated routine immunization services and community outreach.
Australia recently expanded its support, through UNICEF, with an additional US$3.3 million to support the integration of COVID-19 vaccinations into routine immunization services as part of primary health care. Australia has provided US$31 million to Cambodia under its Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative, which includes its partnership with UNICEF, and has delivered 2.83 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to the country.
Since the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations in Cambodia in early 2021, the Australian Government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and UNICEF have been working together to support the Ministry of Health (MOH) on the safe, effective, and equitable delivery of vaccines—including through the donation of mRNA vaccines and establishment of the country’s first ultra-cold chain system across the country.
“We are very proud to have played a part in supporting the Cambodian Government’s successful COVID-19 response and vaccination achievements,” said Ambassador Whyatt. “As we move forward from the acute phase of the pandemic, now is an opportune time to strengthen primary health care as part of recovery and prepare for possible future health emergencies. It is critical for essential health services to be of quality and accessible even to the most vulnerable and remote communities. Our latest contribution in partnership with UNICEF demonstrates our steadfast commitment to inclusive, equitable health services for all.”
“We are committed to continue working together, under the leadership of the Government, to improve the health outcomes of Cambodian children and their families,” said Dr. Will Parks, UNICEF Representative in Cambodia. “The COVID-19 vaccination experience has demonstrated that integrated services that focus on equity, strong community participation, and outreach can have a wider impact on the health and well-being of people. We are grateful to the Australian Government for its continuous partnership with UNICEF and its commitment to advancing child survival and promoting child rights.”
Cambodia remains among the top countries globally with the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates, with 99 percent of the adult population having received the primary two doses of vaccines. Australia’s support to MOH, through UNICEF, on vaccine delivery and management, risk communication and community engagement (RCCE), capacity building of health workers, local planning, and community outreach to people living in remote areas has also increased the availability of vaccines and COVID-19 boosters to vulnerable people, including the elderly, pregnant women, those with disabilities and migrants.
Integrating COVID-19 vaccination with routine immunization programmes in Cambodia contributes to improving the overall access to quality healthcare through life-course immunization, which promotes vaccinating individuals in all stages of life. As a result of these investments, children will have greater access to their first vaccines, protecting them from preventable diseases, such as diphtheria, tetanus, polio and hepatitis B, and ensuring the best possible start in life.
For more information, please contact:
Chief of Communication, UNICEF Cambodia
Tel: +85523260204 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Communication Specialist, UNICEF Cambodia
Tel: +85523260204 Email: email@example.com
Australian Embassy, Cambodia
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.