PHNOM PENH: On 4 May 2022 Cambodia’s next generation of experts on diseases that cross from animals to humans have received a boost thanks to a partnership between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

This partnership, which began in 2017, achieved great success through the One Health Workforce project which established the Cambodia One Health University Network (CAMBOHUN), five universities committed to fostering the next generation of zoonotic disease experts.

Nancy J. Eslick, USAID Cambodia Mission Director said “This partnership has advanced health security in Cambodia and the Mekong region by strengthening the capacity of the health workforce in detecting and managing zoonotic disease outbreaks.” 

She added, “Today we celebrate our strong partnership in global health security through joint support for immunization and to build Cambodia’s next generation of health workers tracking and managing zoonotic diseases – a global priority.”

One Health refers to a multi-disciplinary approach that recognizes the connections between human and animal health and the environment. CAMBOHUN member universities include the Royal University of Agriculture, Prek Leap National College of Agriculture, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham National Institute of Agriculture, and University of Health Sciences. Four faculty members from these universities are now certified as master trainers by the Participatory Epidemiology Network for Animal and Public Health and a One Health student network was created to develop the One Health leaders of tomorrow.

In addition to bolstering One Health efforts, KOICA’s $1,350,000 contribution to USAID global health security activities has strengthened Cambodia’s vaccine delivery system for responding to new disease threats. Through the USAID and KOICA collaboration, public health facilities in five northeastern provinces now have functioning vaccine temperature monitoring devices, proper cold chain equipment, and 255 immunization cold chain officers have been trained to utilize the new technology.

Mr. Hyunjun Rho, Country Director of the KOICA Cambodia office said, “On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Korea, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to USAID and the project team who worked so hard to make a fruitful outcome of the One Health Project in Cambodia. One Health is a part of the Global Health Security Agenda – it is a priority area that needs to be developed for the health sector which is one of the main cooperative sectors of Korea. I am pleased to see this achievement through our GHSA project from 2017 to 2019 and hope to continue collaboration with USAID in the future.” 

USAID and KOICA visited a live bird market in Phnom Penh to see CAMBOHUN students in action. Professors worked with students to identify One Health issue in hygiene, interspecies and intraspecies mixing, animal density, and food safety.

Through partnerships like these, USAID supports epidemic preparedness so that Cambodia can prevent and respond to zoonotic disease outbreaks such as avian influenza, rabies, salmonella, and other emerging threats.

Source: U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh, Cambodia