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Australia to fund maternal health care

Australia to fund maternal health care

Australia has committed A$3.5 million (US$3.25 million) to Cambodia to

help the Kingdom reduce its high maternal mortality rate and improve

reproductive and child health, Australian Ambassador Margaret Adamson

announced April 10.

Cambodia’s maternal mortality rate has for the past five years hovered

at around 472 deaths per 100,000 live births – the highest in the

region, according to the Cambodian Ministry of Health.

The donation will go to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA),

which says it will use the money to improve decentralized health

service delivery services, and to implement a comprehensive assessment

of neonatal care for 2008 -2009.

UNFPA’s Cambodia representative, Alice Levisay, said high levels of

maternal, infant and child mortality raise human rights concerns as

well as urgent health issues. “Saving mothers’ and children’s lives is

an imperative for both social and economic development,” she said.

The UNFPA estimates just 44 percent of Cambodian mothers deliver their

children with the help of a trained health professional. Midwives are

in short supply and distance and lack of money also mean many women go

without pregnancy and childbirth services.

(Khouth Sophak Chakrya)

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