Gov’t Pledges $100,000 for SARS Research

Prime Minister Hun Sen re­turned Wednesday from an Asean summit on severe acute respiratory syndrome in Bang­kok with plans to contribute $100,000 to an Asian fund to research and combat the disease.

“This is not only good for Cambodia but good for the whole re­gion, including Asean and China,” Hun Sen said at Phnom Penh International Airport. “It al­so has attention from the Japa­nese government for prevention measures in our region.”

All 10 Asean members gathered in Bangkok Tuesday and Wednesday to draft a regional declaration on how to control and prevent the spread of SARS. The nations agreed in a draft proposal to establish a SARS containment information network and standardized screening of passengers at airports.

Cambodia will contribute $100,000 to an Asian fund to study SARS, said Dr Sok Touch, director of the Health Ministry’s Communicable Disease Control Department.

The fund was proposed on Tuesday in a meeting between Chi­nese Premier Wen Jiabao and Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

China said it will pledge

$1.2 million, while Thai­land has offered $250,000.

The fund is intended to help relieve pressure on the World Health Organ­ization, which has accumulated a debt of approximately $1.2 million in its fight to control the spread of SARS.

Cambodia’s delegation to the meeting included Health Minis­ter Hong Sun Huot, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and Cabinet chief Sok An.

In addition to the $100,000 pledge, Cambodia has allotted approximately $11,000 from the national budget to enact prevent­ive measures within the country.

No SARS cases have been diagnosed in Cambodia, but the government has asked the international community for financial support to enact preventive measures.

The Japanese government has pledged approximately $153,600 worth of needed equipment, including first aid kits and tools for blood sampling and specimen storage and shipping, a Ja­panese Embassy statement said Wednes­day.

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