Cambodia celebrated their 12th National Day of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (NDMNCH) on February 21, with the theme “Working together to strengthen reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and youth health and nutrition to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030”.

Bun Rany, president of the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC), used the occasion to call on all pregnant women to seek medical advice and consult with health centres or hospitals on a regular basis. At the same time, she called on doctors to maintain professional standards at all times.

“All pregnant women should go for regular check-ups with specialists at health centres or hospitals at least four times during their pregnancies. They should be vaccinated against tetanus and Covid-19, and also be tested for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B. If found positive they should take medicine that will prevent mother-to-child transmission,” she said.

She added that mothers-to-be should make sure their doctor is properly qualified, and added that post-natal care is equally as important.

“Newborns should have regular checkups until they are at least two years old. They ought to receive 11 vaccinations, according to the schedule set by the Ministry of Health,” she continued.

She also called on civil servants and healthcare providers to support the effective implementation of government policies.

“All national and local units must continue to invest in reproductive, maternal, infant, and child health and nutrition. They should support up-skilling of health officials and staff, including local authorities, educators and the leaders of their communities,” she said.

Pum Chantyny, CRC secretary-general, said that the CRC organised a three-day forum to educate the public about the importance of reproductive, maternal, infant and child health and nutrition. It was hoped that the discussion would contribute to achieving the Kingdom’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

“During the discussion, the CRC president spoke about the current health status of Cambodian mothers and children in the context of the post-Covid-19 ‘new normal’,” she added.

“I sincerely hope that this forum will produce positive outcomes for the benefit of our people, especially young pregnant women, and new mothers,” she continued.

She said the National Television of Cambodia and other local TV stations will broadcast the full content of the forum, which runs from February 21-23.

CRC branches across the country also organised gatherings to mark the day, while the Ministry of Women’s Affairs also used the occasion to encourage all women to look after their health.

According to a government report, the rate of women receiving antenatal care has risen from 95 to 99 per cent, with a corresponding decrease in the maternal mortality rate from 174 to 154 per 100,000 live births. The number of deceased newborns decreased from 18 to 8 per 1,000 live births.

Heng Sophannarith, deputy director-general of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) said that the NSSF made significant contributions to the promotion of maternal and child health and nutrition.

“They receive free regular prenatal check-ups at the NSSF’s partner hospitals, as well as postpartum health check-up services. Maternity services are fee, and they will receive cash payments equal to 70 per cent of their average wage contributed to the NSSF for 90 days,” he explained.

“In addition, since 2018, all new mothers receive a cash bonus from the government. Women who have one child receive 400,000 riel, while the mothers of twins and triplets are awarded 800,000 and 1.2 million riel respectively,” he added.