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)