Handover Ceremony of COVID-19 Protective Materials by the Australian AmbassadorSovithiea
On May 19, 2020, the Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, HE. Pablo Kang, distributed COVID-19 protective materials to the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY), the Disability Action Council (DAC), and the Disabled People’s Organisations.
The personal protective equipment was funded by the Australian Government through the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable Sustainable Services program. As a result, Cambodians with disabilities were provided with an extra 52,500 surgical face masks, 3,500 bottles of hand sanitizer and 6,000 bottles of alcohol spray to protect themselves against COVID-19.
Persons with disabilities are at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the barriers to accessing public health information, implementing basic hygiene measures, difficulty in enacting social distancing due to reliance on physical contact with the environment and caregivers, and greater risk due to underlying respiratory and other health conditions caused by certain impairments.
Pablo Kang stated that “through ACCESS, Australia is putting persons with disabilities at the centre of our coronavirus response and recovery efforts. Along with the personal protective equipment we are providing, we are also working with the Cambodian Government and disability stakeholders to develop inclusive information on the coronavirus, including a series of posters, videos and a radio program.”
Dr. Vong Sauth, Minister of MoSVY and President of DAC expressed his appreciation to HE. Pablo Kang and acknowledged the support from the Australian Government that will contribute towards assisting many Cambodians with disabilities to make it through this difficult time.
The ACCESS Program is a three-year (2018-2021) initiative supported by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that aims to improve the sustainability, quality and inclusiveness of services in Cambodia for persons with disabilities and women affected by gender-based violence.
In the context of COVID-19, the program is supporting MoSVY to tailor messages on preventive measures for persons with disabilities and provide an inclusive response to the pandemic. The ACCESS program builds on the long-standing work within the disability sector in Cambodia and reflects Australia’s strong commitment to supporting human rights, gender equality and disability-inclusive development in the region. The ACCESS program will continue to help ensure that basic services remain available for vulnerable groups during this pandemic.