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Child mortality rates drop in the Kingdom

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Children play on a bridge in Pea Reang district’s Kanhchom commune in Prey Veng district in 2013. Sreng Meng Srun

Child mortality rates drop in the Kingdom

Child and infant mortality rates in the Kingdom have declined, though they remain high compared to other Asian countries, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) representative to Cambodia.

Speaking during an annual workshop in Siem Reap province – Review on Child’s Health and Progress of Early Essential Newborn Care (EENC) Implementation in Cambodia – Kumanan Rasanathan said the mortality rate among children under five declined last year to 29 per 1,000, compared to 31 per 1,000 in 2016.

The infant mortality rate also fell to 15 per 1,000 last year, Rasanathan said, citing an official report of the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation.

However, despite progress, he emphasised that the “child and infant mortality rate in Cambodia is still the highest among Asean member countries.”

Rasanathan lauded Cambodia’s strong commitment in improving maternity and child welfare protection. He said Cambodia is on track to reach its goal of reducing maternal and child mortality rates, as laid out in its five-year action plan, aiming to reduce the infant mortality rate to 14 per 1,000 by 2020.

Ministry of Health undersecretary of state Chhou Eymeng said that to improve child welfare in the Kingdom, the ministry has worked closely with the WHO to review healthcare services for children under the age of five at medical institutions throughout the country.

Eymeng appealed for more cooperation between the government and its development partners to improve maternal and child care and expand nutrition programmes.

“Through this cooperation, the improvement of child care and essential early newborn care has been implemented effectively, and more and more children and infants have been rescued,” he said.