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Kingdom sees aided births rise

Growing numbers of Cambodian women are giving birth with the assistance of health professionals, and the Ministry of Health will focus on expanding such services this year, a new report from the ministry says.

According to the report, 66 per cent of women in 2012 gave birth in local health centres, compared with 61 per cent in 2011.

While this increase was modest, it demonstrates an encouraging trend toward reducing infant and maternal mortality rates, Minister of Health Mam Bunheng said last week.

“For 2013, the ministry will concentrate on training midwives in skilled delivery, improving infant care services and emergency delivery services, en­hancing birth control services and increasing vaccine provision, to get rid of measles and tetanus among mothers and babies,” Bunheng said at an annual Ministry of Health meeting.

According to UNICEF communications chief Denise Shepherd-Johnson, infant mortality rates in Cambodia declined from 95 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 45 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010, and that downward trend has continued.

Maternal mortality rates also declined an average 5.8 per cent per year between 1990 and 2010, she said, adding that improvements in the areas Bunheng mentioned had contributed to these positive trends, but that the ministry would need to target poor and remote areas to continue this progress.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JUSTINE DRENNAN

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