The European Union (UN) today announced that it is providing €1.724 million (RM8.7 million) under a three – year programme alongside with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to support Malaysia’s response and preparedness towards COVID – 19 as well as future pandemics.
The assistance is part of the €20 million worth of programmes allocated for the Southeast Asia health pandemic response and preparedness project with seven other Asian countries, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The programme in Malaysia, which comprises 10 pillars of public health emergency preparedness and response, will focus on multi-source surveillance and testing strategies, subnational analysis and risk assessment, risk communication and community engagement, support to COVID – 19 National Immunisation Programme (NIP), and strengthening of essential health services.
Speaking at the launching of the EU – South East Asia Health Pandemic Response and Preparedness Programme in Malaysia, which was held online, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said the programme was “timely and most significant in a time of crisis”
He said this is so given that the pandemic-induced crises have underlined the importance of global solidarity and international cooperation.
“It (the programme) enables us to forge alliances, promote multilateralism, and to share common interests and values to strengthen both regions’ preparedness for, and capacity to respond to current and future public health emergencies.
“We are most grateful for your monetary contribution and generosity that will spearhead this project. It will most definitely benefit the collaborative works of the Health Ministry in Malaysia with our partners from other ministries, and non-governmental organisations,” said Dr Adham.
He was joined by EU Ambassador to Malaysia, Michalis Rokas as well as WHO representative to Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore, Dr Lo Ying – Ru Jacqueline.
Dr Adham said the ministry is looking forward to cooperating with EU and WHO in research and development areas that aim to strengthen overall emergency preparedness and health systems capacity with a specific focus on Covid-19 management and response.
“Ultimately, we are all fighting against the same enemy and with solidarity and good regional cooperation, we will win this battle,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, Rokas elaborated on the programme, which he said would be implemented by the WHO and that it would directly benefit the people in Malaysia.
“This joint intervention will enhance Malaysia’s surveillance and testing system, support timely and transparent communication about the pandemic, promote the vaccine rollout campaign and strengthen the essential health services.
“The pandemic continues to impact us (the EU) and our partners across the globe.
“As such, the EU alongside the WHO remain committed to working closely with the Ministry of Health in Malaysia and other partners to control and suppress the Covid-19 transmission in Malaysia,” he said.
Dr Lo, in her remarks, described the activities planned under the programme as “inclusive and proactive”, and carefully tailored with the Health Ministry to ensure that it meets the specific needs of the country in tackling the common challenges unleashed by the pandemic in the region.
“The programme also reinforces regional collaboration among ASEAN countries as cross border cooperation is key to an informed response for this emergency or the next one,” she said.
- New Straits Times