22 June 2021, PUTRAJAYA – The European Union (EU) and the World Health Organization Representative Office for Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore (WHO) have launched today a three-year programme to support the government of Malaysia in its COVID-19 response and preparedness for future pandemics.
To mark this important partnership, the organizations held a virtual kick-off event and attendees were addressed by His Excellency Mr Michalis Rokas, Ambassador of the European Union to Malaysia, Dato' Sri Dr Adham bin Baba, Minister of Health Malaysia, and Dr Lo Ying-Ru Jacqueline, WHO Representative to Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore.
The EU is providing €1.7 million to Malaysia, as part of the overall €20 million programme for the South East Asia health pandemic response and preparedness project with seven other Asian countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. In Malaysia, the action will focus on COVID-19 activities such as multi-source surveillance and testing strategies, subnational analysis and risk assessment, risk communication and community engagement, support to COVID-19 National Immunization Programme, and strengthening of essential health services.
“Global cooperation and solidarity are fundamental for fighting the virus and for a sustainable global recovery. The launch of this new and important health project is one more step in helping each other and a token of the EU-Malaysia friendship and solidarity. The aim is to strengthen our mutual pandemic preparedness and to support Malaysia dealing with this health emergency and its consequences,” said H.E Michalis Rokas, Ambassador of the European Union to Malaysia.
“The EU is deeply committed to multilateral cooperation, in this case with the WHO, ASEAN and Malaysia. This cooperation is essential to ensure that no one is left behind. This is why Team Europe has already pledged €2.2 billion (RM 11 billion) to the COVAX facility and a pledge of €1.7 million for Malaysia from the €20 million EU dedicated programme for ASEAN. No one is safe until everyone is safe,” stated Ambassador Rokas.
“We are truly humbled by the generosity of the European Union for this substantial contribution. Evidently, it will be very helpful to us in our efforts to combat this COVID-19 pandemic. Malaysia has always had an excellent working relationship with WHO and we are proud to be part of this partnership and collaboration. This will certainly boost our healthcare system and continue to ensure that the national control measures are in place for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We are also very thankful for the assistance and support from multi-agencies and public and private partnerships. I am very proud of these accomplishments and collaborations and in solidarity, we will win the battle against COVID-19 and any other health emergencies faced in the future. As the pandemic has shown us, in our interdependent world – no one is safe until everyone is safe,” said the Honorable Minister of Health Malaysia, YB Dato’ Seri Dr Adham Baba.
WHO, through its Western Pacific and South East Asia Regional Offices, will also bolster its engagement and exchange of best practices with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to promote regional cooperation to the COVID-19 pandemic response, given the shared objectives, similarities and challenges shared by ASEAN Member States in the Region. In this initiative, WHO plays a critical role in supporting coordination, providing technical expertise across critical pandemic management areas and capturing lessons from the ground up to help address systemic challenges and effectively deal with future disease outbreaks.
“Malaysia has a strong health system and has years of experience in health emergency preparedness and response. But the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged health systems not only in Malaysia, but around the world,” said Dr Lo Ying-Ru Jacqueline, WHO Representative to Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore. “The European Union is one of WHO’s major partners and this programme is a continuation of global and regional solidarity that will support Malaysia’s COVID-19 national response and build on lessons learnt to better prepare for future health emergencies,” added Dr Lo.
The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing. #HealthforAll
For more information about WHO and its work in Malaysia, please visit: www.who.int/malaysia
Team Europe - comprising the EU, its Member States and financial institutions - has provided over €800 million to assist ASEAN in its response to the coronavirus. The support is given to health facilities and health workers, provisions of personal protective equipment and sanitizers, as well as technical assistance and institutional support.
Team Europe also contributes to the financing of the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, a global initiative to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines to everyone including citizens of ASEAN. The initial contribution was doubled on 19 February 2021, making Team Europe one of the lead donors to COVAX providing over €2.47 billion in funding.
For more information about the EU, its relations and Cooperation for International Partnerships with Malaysia, please visit: https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/malaysia_en