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Transport aid gets on road

In the first scheme of its kind in the provinces, a low-cost transport system will be provided for villagers in Kratie province.

Partners For Development  had begun operations for the Providing Rural Communities Equal Care Through Transport (PROTECT) project on January 19, malaria community program officer Son Seng Ean said yesterday.

Remorks – vehicles used in rural areas that can carry as many as 25 people – ply set routes six times a day, taking villagers to places such as markets, schools and hospitals.

Villagers pay 4,000 riels (US$1) a month for the service. Pregnant women and children could use it for free and could call on it during an emergency, Son Seng Ean said.

The project is piloting in Prek Prasap commune and will be extended to three others during February and March.  

PROTECT was one of 19 projects nominated for funding by the Saving Lives at Birth Challenge. US$250,000 would be provided over two years by the challenge’s partners, co-ordinator Chin Polo said.

Research by PFD showed that women in Kratie province faced severe problems in accessing health services and public health facilities, he said.

“Transport was very expensive. It was also difficult to find transport because of the remote locations, and transport was not available at night.”

Another goal is to reduce poverty in the area by providing low-cost transportation.

Prek Prasab commune chief Thou Seng Ngan said this was the first transportation project for the commune.

“(PROTECT) helps my villagers to spend less for transportation and with their difficulties, especially the pregnant women and children,” he said.

About half the people in his commune had their own transport, Thou Seng Ngan said.

A similar project for pregnant women and children needing emergency care was being run by USAID-RACHA in five provinces, RACHA executive director Chan Theary said.

WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CASSANDRA YEAP

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