Government of Australia provides additional Personal Protective Equipment to persons with disabilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Government of Australia provides additional Personal Protective Equipment to persons with disabilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Vulnerable groups, in particular persons with disabilities, are at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 when accessing public services. It has been challenging for Physical Rehabilitation Centres (PRCs) to provide services to persons with disabilities during the pandemic due to social distancing and restriction measures, and a lack of communication equipment and materials to deliver services safely.

On 23 June 2021, the Australian Government, through the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable Sustainable Services (ACCESS) Program, and in collaboration with Humanity and Inclusion (HI), provided additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and communications materials to the Persons With Disabilities Foundation (PWDF) and 9 other Physical Rehabilitation Centres (PRCs). These materials will be used to improve the rehabilitation service provision for clients with disabilities that the Program supports. Distributed items included 189,500 surgical masks, 4,060 bottles of hand sanitiser, 1,440 bottles of disinfectant spray, 4,000 bars of soap, 16 thermometers and 10 electronic tablets which will allow service providers to conduct remote rehabilitation services. Other communications material was also distributed including 5 Smart TVs, 1 camera, 1 conference camera for virtual meetings/events, 2,500 pamphlets, and 4,501 leaflets.

Participants in the handover ceremony included representatives from the Australian Embassy to Cambodia, ACCESS Team and PWDF, nine PRCs from various provinces (Kampong Cham, Siem Reap, Takeo, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Phnom Penh-Kien Kleang, Kandal, Kampong Chhnang, and Preah Sihanouk), Humanity and Inclusion (HI), and Exceed Worldwide in Cambodia.

Ms. Elizabeth Adler, Second Secretary at the Australian Embassy to Cambodia stated during the ceremony: “The Government of Australia continues to place vulnerable groups including persons with disabilities, at the centre of our COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. Our government has approved an additional two-year extension period for the ACCESS Program, until September 2023, and we are very delighted to continue working with PWDF to ensure that essential services such as rehabilitation remain available, accessible, and are of good quality during this COVID-19 crisis and beyond.”

Mr. Sim Sothun, Director of PWDF, said that the PRCs continued to provide services remotely to persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. He appreciated the support from the Australian Government through the ACCESS Program including the provision of PPE and communications material at the event. He hoped this support would contribute to strengthening the work of PRCs in management efficiency and their ability to provide quality and sustainable benefits to persons with disabilities, their families and the society.