The Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) has encouraged pregnant women to seek maternal care from the beginning of their pregnancy through postpartum check-ups to ensure the health of mothers and babies as the government strives to achieve universal health coverage in the Kingdom.
CRC president Bun Rany made the call as she addressed all compatriots on the occasion of the National Day of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health to be observed on February 21.
Bun Rany, a “national outstanding member” of the UN Secretary-General’s Joint Action Plan for Women’s and Children’s Health, said: “The implementation of the cash support programme for pregnant women and children under two years old in families with equity or priority cards is one of Cambodia’s key strategies to improve maternal, newborn and child health and achieve universal health coverage in Cambodia.”
The Population Census of Cambodia 2019 showed that newborn and child mortality rates in Cambodia was comparable to other developing countries in the region and marked improvements over the past.
Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, who chaired the census committee, said last month that under guidance from the UN, a new agenda for development was launched, dubbed “Target 2030”.
He said the framework consists of sustainable development goals aimed at reducing the newborn mortality rate to less than 12 per 1,000 live births and under-five mortality rate to less than 25 per 1,000.
Sar Kheng said the results of the census indicate that infant mortality rates in Cambodia had decreased significantly from 26 to 18 for newborns and from 44 to 28 for children under five (per thousand births) from 2008 to 2019.
“The census highlights many factors which explain how differences in access to parental education, public health services and improved hygiene practices have changed in Cambodia,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bun Rany recommended pregnant women go for four regular health check-ups prior to childbirth to consult with medical professionals or midwives at health centres or hospitals near their homes.
Following child birth, new mothers should get postpartum health check-ups for themselves and their babies, including 11 types of vaccinations scheduled for children under two years old.
“I appeal to all leaders, civil servants, health workers, and service providers to participate in supporting the effective implementation of the government’s social protection policies,” she said.