Remarks by Sean Callahan, USAID Cambodia Deputy Mission Director

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Sean Callahan, USAID Cambodia Deputy Mission Director speaks at National Consultative Workshop on Strengthening Health Professio
Sean Callahan, USAID Cambodia Deputy Mission Director speaks at National Consultative Workshop on Strengthening Health Professions Regulation in Cambodia
USAID/Chantha Chak

Your Excellency Dr. Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health

Your Excellency Professor Thir Kruy, Secretary of State, Ministry of Health

Health professions councils, provincial health directors, partners, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

Of the many challenges we face as a global community – and there are many – health crises constitute among the most serious.  Today, the headlines tell us of the toll that Ebola has taken in West Africa.  Not long ago the world faced repeated outbreaks of SARS, multiple influenzas, not to mention the continued threat posed by HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, measles – I could go on. But I won’t.  What I do want to point out is that our single greatest defense against these threats is our health workers.  These men and women fight on the front lines every day at great risk to themselves to protect us.  Helping them to become a coordinated, disciplined, qualified, and effective fighting force is what this gathering is all about.

This is a priority for us and it is why I am delighted to be with you today.  I am excited to see that the intent of this workshop has been realized.  In bringing together key stakeholders across the country to jointly formulate this strategy, the health professions councils and the Ministry of Health now have a broadly consulted strategic direction.  I wish to congratulate His Excellency Dr. Mam Bunheng, His Excellency Professor Thir Kruy, and the health professions councils for convening this workshop and all of you for your hard work.

USAID is pleased to support the efforts of the Health Professions Councils and the Ministry of Health towards achieving the strategic objectives you have defined over the last two days.  We work through our Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems Project, and in close coordination with other health development partners, to help regulate and strengthen Cambodia’s health workforce.

Over the coming weeks, the health professions councils and the ASSIST Project will further develop and refine the national strategy and continue to reach out to key stakeholder groups to finalize it.  Beyond the development of the strategy, it is important that progress towards its implementation is led by the councils, targeted towards addressing the underlying preconditions for effective regulatory reform and strengthening, and collaborative in engaging key stakeholders along the way. 

Your work to improve regulation of health professionals will improve the quality of health services in both public and private sectors and protect the interests of uninformed health care consumers.  Health professional regulations set the minimum levels of education and experience required for professional practice.  If implemented more effectively, regulations can specify the legally permissible boundaries of practice and enforce their compliance.

USAID is excited by the potential of this new program and we are proud to support the joint efforts of the health professions councils, the Ministry of Health, and its stakeholders towards achieving a stronger health professions regulatory system as part of its package of support towards strengthening the health system and improving the quality of healthcare.  

You, as key stakeholders, have had a hand in developing this strategy and we further support the calls of the Ministry of Health and health professions councils for your continued engagement, support and commitment for action.  The efforts of all stakeholders to address regulatory systems fragmentation and weaknesses are critical towards a health care system where all health professionals are regulated and provide safe and quality healthcare.  

I wish you great success in this new program.

Thank you.

Issuing Country