The Australian Government Supports Cambodia’s Development of Policy and Strategic Plan on Disability Inclusion in Healthgiant
The Australian Government, through the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable Sustainable Services (ACCESS) Program, announced its support for Cambodia’s efforts to develop a policy and a strategic plan on disability inclusion in health for the years 2023–2030.
The kick-off meeting, held on 5 May 2023, organised by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and brought together a range of stakeholders from government institutions, professional associations, and NGOs including the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY), the Disability Action Council Secretariat General (DAC-SG), Cambodian Disabled People’s Organisation, Cambodian Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (KhAPO), Cambodian Physical Therapy Association (CPTA), OIC Cambodia, UNICEF, World Bank, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia (RHAC), Older People’s Associations and other development partners.
The development of the policy and strategic plan is a crucial step towards addressing the past and current experiences related to disability inclusion in health facilities. The ACCESS Program has been working with government counterparts and implementing partners in the disability sector to improve disability inclusion in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
The meeting provided an opportunity for participants to understand the purpose and intended process of developing a policy and strategic plan on disabilities in health facilities, consult and finalise the terms of reference and membership of working groups on disabilities in health facilities, and outline the structure and process of developing the policy and strategic plan on disabilities in health facilities for 2023–2030.
H.E Prof. Sea Huong, Secretary of State for MoH, in his opening remarks, emphasised Cambodia’s commitment to implementing national and international policies and principles to ensure access to quality and equitable health services for all people including persons with disabilities. The MoH has requested that the World Health Organisation, ACCESS Program, and development partners work together with them to develop a policy and strategic plan on disability inclusion in health.
Mr Connor Floyd, Second Secretary of the Australian Embassy to Cambodia, highlighted the collaborative successes achieved in partnership with the leadership of the Royal Government of Cambodia. He said that building inclusive health services will not only address the specific health needs of persons with disabilities, but it will also support the achievement of Universal Health Coverage. “Progressing truly and effectively towards an inclusive society that leaves no one behind requires action from all sectors and across every segment of society,” he added.
One participant, Mr Teap Odom, from KhAPO, shared the significance of this workshop and the development of policy and strategic plan on disability inclusion in health that will help persons with disabilities address the challenges they faced when receiving health services at the local level.
The Australian Government, through the ACCESS Program, has supported government and non-government partners, including organisations of persons with disabilities, to contribute to the implementation of the second National Disability Strategic Plan (NDSP2) towards improving the sustainability, quality, and inclusiveness of services for persons with disabilities.
As the ACCESS Program continues to work with Cambodia’s government counterparts and implementing partners, the development of this policy and strategic plan on disability inclusion in health marks a critical milestone in the shared commitment to building inclusive health services and creating a progressive, productive, and healthy environment that leaves no one behind.