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Cambodia gets fresh pandemic help

A handover ceremony of 20 tons of medical supplies donated by the GX Foundation to Cambodia’s Ministry of Health is held online on July 7, 2021. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Cambodia has received 20 metric tons of new medical supplies donated by a Chinese non-governmental organization, putting the Southeast Asian country in a stronger position to step up its pandemic fight.

GX Foundation, a medical humanitarian organization based in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, held an online handover ceremony on July 7 to deliver the supplies to the Cambodian government.

The donation includes 300 oxygen concentrators, 1,000,000 surgical masks, 30,000 isolation gowns, 160,000 gloves, 10,000 safety goggles and 10,000 face shields, according to the foundation.

GX Foundation, a medical humanitarian organization based in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, held an online handover ceremony on July 7 to deliver medical supplies to the Cambodian government

The event was attended by Cambodia’s Minister of Health Mam Bunheng, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and GX Foundation Chairman Leung Chun-ying, Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian, and Hong Kong Business Association of Cambodia Chairman Yum Sui Sang, among others.

The donation was made in response to a request from the Cambodian government amid rising COVID-19 infections since April. “GX hopes that these emergency relief materials will help alleviate the burden of COVID-19 on the health care workers, COVID-19 patients and communities across Cambodia,” the foundation said.

Cambodia confirmed 981 new COVID-19 cases on July 7, bringing the nation’s total tally to 57,103, according to its health ministry. The overall death toll reached 798.

Established in 2018, the GX Foundation aims to provide humanitarian health assistance to countries along the Belt and Road route, responding to the call for people-to-people connectivity under China’s Belt and Road Initiative for international cooperation. The name of GX is derived from the Chinese word “gong xiang”, which means sharing.

GX Foundation Chairman Leung Chun-ying delivers a speech at the handover ceremony of 20 tons of medical supplies donated by the organization to Cambodia’s Ministry of Health online on July 7, 2021. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

“Until April this year, the government and people of Cambodia were very successful in keeping the COVID-19 pandemic at bay. The recent outbreak calls for emergency assistance from friends overseas,” GX Foundation’s Leung, who is former Hong Kong chief executive, said during the handover ceremony.

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Although donation of relief supplies and equipment donation was not the original mission of the GX Foundation — the nonprofit had been mainly focused on work aimed at eliminating cataract blindness — Leung said the organization made an exceptional decision to be a helping hand for the protection of healthcare staff and the clinical management of COVID-19 patients in Cambodia.

Until April this year, the government and people of Cambodia were very successful in keeping the COVID-19 pandemic at bay. The recent outbreak calls for emergency assistance from friends overseas.

Leung Chun-ying, GX Foundation Chairman and former HKSAR chief executive

Noting that China has been supporting Cambodia’s pandemic fight through the provision of vaccines and medical supplies,Emily Chan Ying-yang, CEO of GX Foundation told China Daily that the NGO hopes to play a complementary role in enhancing the partnership between the two countries.

With a new batch of 1 million doses of Sinopharm’s vaccine arriving in Phnom Penh on July 6, China has so far delivered 11.7 million doses of COVID-19 jabs, including 2.2 million doses in donations, to Cambodia, according to the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh.

“We received the request from the Cambodia government around the end of April and the beginning of May,” said Chan, adding that the donation was based on close discussions with the Cambodian government to ensure that all the materials donated can meet the local needs.

“During the current pandemic, we understand that the Cambodian people are in urgent need for healthcare and medical assistance,” said Yum from HKBAC.

The GX Foundation donates 20 tons of medical supplies to Cambodia’s Ministry of Health on July 7, 2021. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Besides the donation on July 7, Yum said the HKBAC has also collaborated with the GX Foundation to hold online seminars about COVID-19 and disseminate posters with pandemic-related information in Khmer to the local community. 

Besides providing emergency humanitarian assistance to Cambodia’s pandemic fight, the GX Foundation has signed a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia’s health ministry in October 2019 for a 3-year partnership to eliminate the backlog of cataract-blind patients in Prey Veng province in southeastern Cambodia.

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Two mobile eye treatment trucks have been prepared and are ready to serve the people when the pandemic situation in Cambodia is under control. Medical experts from Southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region will be sent to provide free cataract surgeries to Cambodia people.

In June, the GX Foundation donated 20 tons of medical supplies to Laos to help the nation better manage the pandemic. The cataract blindness elimination project is expected to be launched in that country once the COVID-19 situation eases there.

kelly@chinadailyapac.com