By Vannarath Te
On 18 March 2019, the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) launched the SCUBY project in Cambodia at Himawari Hotel, Phnom Penh. The launch was highly presided over by H.E Prof. ENG Huot, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Health, with relevant stakeholders more than sixty attending the event.
H.E. Prof. ENG Huot remarked the Ministry of Health has been working hard to achieve better provision of health promotion, management, treatment, and rehabilitation services to the public. These have been done through increasing health coverage and quality of care and reducing financial risks, while utilizing health services, among the population. At the same time, he also acknowledged that burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Cambodia is increasing, but care and treatment for these diseases are still limited and have not reached all the population in need. He continued that service expansion for diabetes and hypertension is one of the main priorities in the national strategic plan for prevention and control of NCDs 2013-2020 and the national multisectoral action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 2018-2027. However, expanding services to all of the health care facilities is quite challenging; therefore, we need more research to assess how to do the scale up and expand the services to everyone in need. The SCUBY project, he emphasized, will provide more scientific evidence to the Ministry of Health for health strategic planning. At the end, H.E. Prof. ENG Huot expressed his strong support for the project and requested all relevant stakeholders to closely collaborate with NIPH for successful implementation of the project.
From the launch workshop, participants who are key stakeholders including, policy makers from the Ministry of Health, NCD experts and researchers, donor representatives, and project and health care facility leaders, were informed about key objectives, research methodology and activities, and expected impacts of the SCUBY project. The participants also got a chance to ask questions about the project and provided their inputs through panel discussion and stakeholder consultation activities.
Prof. CHHEA Chhorvann, director of NIPH, officially closed the workshop in the afternoon of the same day with strong urge for real actions and improvement in implementation of national guidelines for activities and service provision for NCDs at health centers. He expressed the importance of thinking together and working together to overcome the problems of NCDs. He continued, now it is high time to control NCDs. People are suffering from diabetes and hypertension, and treatment of their complications is crazily expensive. The SCUBY project, according to him, should focus on the real implementation. Finally, he hoped that all of the participants would take the ideas from the workshop and continue the discussion.