Cambodia Celebrates Significant Health Achievements on WHO’s 75th Founding Anniversary

The Royal Government of Cambodia has expressed its congratulations to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the 75th anniversary of its founding and highlighted the country's many health successes.

According to a joint press release AKP received last night, Cambodia has achieved significant health outcomes in the past decades that have changed many people's lives for the better. Life expectancy has risen dramatically in Cambodia and as of 2021-2022 was 76 years old. Nearly all (99 percent) women now give birth with a skilled health provider, an increase from just over one in three women in 2000.

Neonatal and under five mortality rates have rapidly declined over the past two decades, from 37 to 8 and 124 to 16 per 1000 live births respectively. This included an over 50 percent decrease between 2014 and 2021-2022 alone, far faster than global averages, and meeting the Cambodian Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) eight years ahead of schedule.

Cambodia successfully eradicated polio in 1997 and has achieved significant progress in preventing controlling, and eliminating other communicable diseases. The number of reported falciparum malaria cases is at its lowest ever, and it has been five years since malaria mortality was last recorded in 2018. The rates of tuberculosis incidence and mortality have decreased by around 50 percent from 2000 to 2021, and Cambodia achieved the reduction of global AIDS targets ahead of schedule.

Over the past decade, Cambodia effectively prepared for, and responded to, health security threats and emergencies, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic, through the strengthening of its surveillance and response systems, laboratory capacity, and public health and social measures, in particular, Cambodia achieved high COVID-19 vaccination coverage whilst still maintaining essential health services and delivered effective mental health and psychosocial support where it was needed during this heightened time of stress and crisis.

"This World Health Day, we congratulate the Royal Government of Cambodia on its remarkable success in improving the health and wellbeing of Cambodians and in leading the way towards 'Health for All'. I am proud that WHO has been a trusted partner with the Royal Government of Cambodia and the people of Cambodia in this success," said Dr. Ailan Li, WHO Representative to Cambodia.

"Cambodia has made extraordinary efforts in ensuring sustained management of COVID-19, including through local preparedness and a successful vaccination rollout. WHO is grateful to the Royal Government of Cambodia's strong leadership, and its commitment to invest in health for future social and economic development in Cambodia," noted Dr. Li.

As outlined at the recent National Health Congress, Cambodia is rapidly developing, and people's demand for health services will continue to grow. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are rising and now cause an estimated two-thirds of the country's deaths, and it will be important to strengthen NCDs prevention and control, and to address the needs of a future ageing population.

In March, the Royal Government of Cambodia convened an annual dialogue with the United Nations Country Team where discussions focused on strengthening the health system toward Universal Health Coverage and expanding social protection, both of which are vital to achieving the targets set in the Cambodia SDGs.

"We are committed to ensuring no one is left behind as Cambodia moves towards a brighter future," emphasised H.E. Professor Mam Bunheng. "In collaboration with WHO we continue our collective journey of boosting primary health care as the foundation towards Universe Health Coverage that will secure a healthy and safe future for all Cambodians for the next 75 years and beyond."

The Royal Government of Cambodia took the opportunity to commended and appreciated the hard work by health care workers, communities and officials, in collaboration with WHO and other health partners, to ensure a safer and healthier Cambodia.

WHO was founded on April 7, 1948 and today the world will mark the beginning of a year-long campaign to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of WHO, with the theme "Health for All".

Cambodia first joined WHO in 1950, when it was an Associate Member of the French Union, and since then WHO has been the country's primary health and wellbeing partner, working to create a safer and healthier Cambodia for all.

The Kingdom of Cambodia "As an active Member State of WHO, Cambodia is committed to promoting and protecting public health and equity within our borders and around the world, and we are proud that ‘We are WHO’".

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP)