The Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC) held its annual Liaison Council under the Presidency of His Excellency the Minister of Health, Professor MAM Bunheng, on May 27th, 2021. On this occasion Dr. Laurence BARIL, Director, Dr.LY Sowath, Deputy Director and Mr. Christophe MOUSSET, Administrative and Financial Director presented the 2020 results and achievements of the Institute. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, the Liaison Council had to take place both in person and by videoconference, depending on the circumstances of each individual participant.
The Institut Pasteur du Cambodge is a non-profit research institution engaged by agreement with the Royal Government of Cambodia operating under the senior oversight of the Cambodian Ministry of Health and of the Institut Pasteur (Paris, France).
The IPC held its annual Liaison Council under the Presidency of His Excellency the Minister of Health, Prof MAM Bunheng, on May 27th 2021.
Permanent members of the Liaison Council comprise representatives from Institut Pasteur (Prof. Christophe D’ENFERT, Scientific Director and Prof. Pierre-Marie GIRARD, Director of the International Department), The Embassy of France in Cambodia (Her Excellency (H.E.) Eva NGUYEN BINH, Ambassador and Mr. Christophe GIGAUDAUT, Head of Cooperation), and the Ministry of Health (H.E. OR Vandine, Secretary of State), the Ministry of Economy and Finance (Dr. HOR Sovathana, Deputy Director of Insurance and Pension Department), the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (Prof. PA Meng Hok, Deputy Director of Department of Higher Education), the University of Health Sciences (H.E. Prof. SAPHONN Vonthanak, Rector), the Royal University of Agriculture (Dr. SENG Mom, Vice-Rector of International Affairs), the World Health Organization (Dr. LI Ailan, WHO Country Representative), and the UN Children’s Fund (Dr. FOROOGH Foyouzat, UNICEF Country Representative).
Invited members include representatives from Ministry of Health departments (C-CDC, NIPH, CNM, CENAT, NCHADS), Calmette Hospital (Deputy General Director), National Pediatric Hospital (General Director), Kantha Bopha Foundation (General Director), other Cambodian health institutions and Universities (RUPP, ITC, UP, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Deputy Director), the Food and Agriculture Organization (Country Representative), the World Bank (Senior Health Specialist), the Asia Development Bank (Country Director), the French Development Agency and several other International partners (GIZ, US-CDC, NAMRU2, CIRAD, IRD). For the second year, the Australian Ambassador (H.E. Pablo KANG) in Cambodia joined the Council. For the first time this year a representative of the Ministry of Environment joined, highlighting the importance of the life science and health research as a key component of sustainable development in Cambodia.
The Institut Pasteur du Cambodge was represented by Dr. Laurence BARIL, Director, Dr. LY Sowath, Deputy Director, and M. Christophe MOUSSET, Administrative and Financial Director, who presented the 2020 results and achievements in research, health services, training and teaching.
In 2020, IPC has been on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 in support of the Ministry of Health and WHO. In April 2020, WHO designated IPC as one of its global reference laboratories worldwide to better address the public health risk emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic; this is a significant recognition and honor for the Institution and for Cambodia. A summary of the COVID-19 response activities performed by IPC in support of the MoH was provided to the Liaison Council by the IPC Management Team as was a description of the COVID-19 research agenda for IPC and partner institutions to combat the virus. Since January 2020, the continuous support provided by the Ministry of Health to IPC was warmly acknowledged by the IPC Management.
Despite the recent increase in attention to COVID-19 work, IPC continues to also emphasize research efforts in emerging, neglected and major endemic infectious diseases. The presentation highlighted the many important non-COVID-19 scientific results achieved in 2020 on dengue fever, chikungunya virus, rabies, malaria, antimicrobial resistance, tuberculosis, seasonal and avian flu, viral hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and in entomology. A significant part of these achievements resulted from an efficient and long standing collaboration with both the Ministry of Health (Human Health) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Animal Health) but also with many national, regional and international partners including hospitals.
In addition to research and support to the public health response, IPC is also offers a wide range of health services to the public through its medical biology laboratory, international vaccine center, rabies prevention centers Phnom Penh, Battambang and Kampong Cham, and the laboratory for environment and food safety.
Finally, continued efforts to strengthen scientific education in life sciences and health research and to promote cross-cultural learning among students from different countries and regions is key to address future scientific challenges in the Greater Mekong Region. IPC hosts a few dozen students yearly for internships and is a strong partner of the International Joint Master’s of Infectious Disease coordinated by the University of Health Sciences (UHS) and the University of Paris-Saclay (UPS), France. Nine students progressed to their second year and nine students entered the first year of their master’s degree program.
IPC has demonstrated that it is a responsive and flexible institution that can rapidly react to any communicable disease health crisis. It actively contributes to capacity building and educational training of Cambodian and international students and professionals. Its working model is consistent with the missions and values of the other institutions belonging to the Institut Pasteur International Network. IPC will continue to develop high excellence research, provide direct health services, and offer teaching and training in life sciences and health research of critical importance to Cambodia and beyond. In order to fulfil its mission, IPC strives to improve the quality of life and well-being of the Cambodian population.