A descriptive assessment of the National Institute of Public Health’s role in supporting the COVID-19 response in Cambodia, 2020–2021





COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 testing, laboratories, training of trainers, capacity building, public health surveillance, Cambodia


Objective: This paper examines the contributions made by the National Institute of Public Health to Cambodia’s response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic during 2020–2021.

Methods: The activities conducted by the Institute were compared with adaptations of the nine pillars of the World Health Organization’s 2020 COVID-19 strategic preparedness and response plan. To gather relevant evidence, we reviewed national COVID-19 testing data, information about COVID-19-related events documented by Institute staff, and financial and technical reports of the Institute’s activities.

Results: The main contributions the Institute made were to the laboratory pillar and the incident management and planning pillar. The Institute tested more than 50% of the 2 575 391 samples for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing and provided technical advice about establishing 18 new laboratories for SARS-CoV-2 testing in the capital city of Phnom Penh and 11 provinces. The Institute had representatives on many national committees and coauthored national guidelines for implementing rapid COVID-19 testing, preventing transmission in health-care facilities and providing treatment. The Institute contributed to six other pillars, but had no active role in risk communication and community engagement.

Discussion: The Institute’s support was essential to the COVID-19 response in Cambodia, especially for laboratory services and incident management and planning. Based on the contributions made by the Institute during the COVID-19 pandemic, continued investment in it will be critical to allow it to support responses to future health emergencies in Cambodia.




How to Cite

Chhim S, Wuddhika IV, Pa K, Chhorn C, Housen T, Parry AE, Van Damme W, Ir P, Chhea C. A descriptive assessment of the National Institute of Public Health’s role in supporting the COVID-19 response in Cambodia, 2020–2021. Western Pac Surveill Response J [Internet]. 2023 Mar. 22 [cited 2024 Apr. 20];14(1):7. Available from: https://ojs.wpro.who.int/ojs/index.php/wpsar/article/view/974



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