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A group of JICA’s healthcare officers working on a TB project in a provincial area
A group of JICA’s healthcare officers working on a TB project in a provincial area. PHOTO SUPPLIED

A helping hand from the Japanese

1. When did JICA’s projects, which promote public welfare, care and treatment of the people, start? What kind of projects do you do and where are they?
JICA has been supporting the health sector in Cambodia since 1992, utilising funds from the government of Japan by grant aid (GA) to improve health infrastructure and equipment and technical cooperation (TC) for human resources development and administrative systems improvement, mainly in the field of maternal and child health, tuberculosis control, health professional development and medical equipment management.

2. Among those projects, what is the most dangerous health risk for Cambodian people related to diseases? What are the causes? What is the percentage of people directly affected by these diseases? And how many per cent of the population are affected?
JICA’s support aligns with Cambodia’s development strategies. In the health sector, following the government’s Health Strategic Plan and to help achieve the Cambodian Millennium Development Goals (CMDG), JICA works together with the Cambodian government in areas such as tackling the prevalence of tuberculosis, improving the maternal and child health status, strengthening medical equipment maintenance systems and human resource development.

3. Until now, which of JICA’s welfare projects is the most successful? How many Cambodian people get services from this project, especially on tuberculosis?
For the tuberculosis control project, JICA started sending individual experts here in 1997 and conducted technical cooperation projects from 1999 to 2012. TB control projects successfully carried out two TB prevalence surveys. When the first prevalence survey was conducted in 2002, there were 437 smear positive TB patients per 100,000 above age 15.

JICA supported to pave the way to expand diagnosis at health centre level and DOTS treatments in health centres and at community level free for all people. The second prevalence survey in 2011 showed that the prevalence rates were down 38 per cent to 272 per 100,000.

In the field of human resource development, JICA have been supporting capacity development of health professionals in order to improve the quality of services provided to people. Especially, JICA is now supporting the draft Nursing Regulation to ensure the quality of nurses by prescribing fundamental points such as the definition of nursing and nurses, responsibilities and qualification of nurses.

At the same time, 26 nurses have been supported to obtain the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Thailand. They’re strongly expected to be core human resources to lead the further improvement of nursing in Cambodia and the implementation of the Nursing Regulation. This will benefit the entire Cambodian society.

4. Since the establishment of the public welfare projects in Cambodia until now, how much in Japanese Yen does JICA spend in total? Which project cost the most, and why?
As for the grant aid projects, which aim at supporting construction or renovation of health facilities and the provision of medical equipment, the total amount is about 8.8 billion yen (US$90 million). As for TC, the total amount is about 5.5 billion yen ($56 million).

The construction of the National Maternal and Child Health Centre in 1995 is the biggest project, because JICA supported the establishment of the whole building, while the other projects mainly focused on renovation or expansion of existing facilities.

5. How many doctors and JICA staff in total are working on this health project? How many Japanese staff are there?
I’m sorry, there is no specific data available on this.

6. From 2013 on, what projects does JICA have to help improve Cambodia’s public welfare sector and how long will they run?
The current projects in tuberculosis, maternal and child health, medical equipment maintenance and human resources development will all be completed by 2015. In preparation for post-2015, JICA is going to review the strategy in the health sector this year based on the achievements of CMDG and other relevant goals.

7. JICA sends health officers to get training overseas. Until 2013, how many students and health officers has JICA provided scholarships to? What kind of subjects do they study, where do they study and how long does each subject take?
With support from the Project for Strengthening Human Resources Development System of Co-Medicals, 26 students have been dispatched in three separate groups and 20 of them have already completed the bridging course for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Saint Louis College in Bangkok. The remaining six students are now studying. In addition, six more students will start studying from September with the project’s support. The course duration is 18 month.

8. How much is the scholarship’s expenditure in total?
It will be about $600,000 for 32 students in total.

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