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Child mortality increases despite Millennium goals

Child mortality increases despite Millennium goals

Cambodia is the only country in the region where child mortality rates have actually

increased since 1990, making it unlikely the kingdom will achieve its child survival

target under the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) system.

One in seven Cambodian children die before the age of five, due to poor sanitation,

unregulated private clinics and the lack of public health, said the Progress On Children

report released by the United Nations children's fund this month.

Less than half of East Asian and Pacific countries were on track to meet their MDG

promise of cutting under-five child mortality by two-thirds by 2015.

Cambodia was the worst of a group of countries showing little or no reduction, including

Myanmar, North Korea, Papua New Guinea and Pacific Island nations.

Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Brunei Darussalam were noted in the report for

their progress towards the target.

"The success of these countries has been due not only to their relative economic

prosperity but also to the political will to invest in providing basic healthcare

for all citizens," said Rodney Hatfield, UNICEF representative in Cambodia.

"Children born to poor rural families in Cambodia have a three times greater

chance of dying in early childhood than those born to better-off urban families,"

said Hatfield.

"We must ensure that these interventions are targeted at those families where

the likeliness of child mortality is greatest."

Health experts say that Cambodia must provide more proven maternal and child treatments

across the healthcare system if it is to stand a chance of meeting its MDG pledge.

"We need to focus on effectively promoting oral rehydration therapy to combat

diarrhea, appropriate complementary feeding practices to reduce malnutrition and

the appropriate use of antibiotics to treat childhood pneumonia," said Jim Tulloch,

country representative for the World Health Organization.

One third of the way to the MDG deadline in 2015, Cambodia is also struggling to

meet its other targets, according to a government report released earlier this year.

While the report recognized the country's achievements in reducing the HIV/AIDS rate

and progress in the huge job of de-mining the war-wracked land, it said Cambodia

was unlikely to meet its goals on poverty, education, gender equality, maternal health

and environmental issues.

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