Improving maternal, newborn and child health is essential to achieving the UN's third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of health and welfare by 2030, said Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami.

Mikami was speaking at a December 7 ceremony at the Japanese embassy in Phnom Penh to hand over life-saving equipment to the National Maternal and Child Health Center (NMCHC) to support the Cambodian healthcare system.

The donation provided by the Japanese government, through the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), includes 290 packages of midwifery equipment, 150 child delivery beds, 50 delivery kits and communications technology for e-learning to the NMCHC, according to a joint press release by the Ministry of Health, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the embassy.

“The government of Japan has been contributing to the improvement of maternal, newborn and child health for a long time. Although newborn mortality rates in Cambodia are improving, I understand that pregnant women and newborns still find it hard to access adequate healthcare, especially in remote areas,” Mikami said.

He noted that continued improvement in the sector is essential to achieving the third SDG, which is the establishment of healthcare and social welfare protections for all members of society.

Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng thanked the government and people of Japan for

consistently coordinating grants, both technical and financial, to Cambodia every year in order to strengthen the health sector and other important sectors in the Kingdom.

“The Japanese government and UNFPA have always supported the Cambodian health sector, and UNFPA has made a significant contribution to us achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” he added.

UNFPA new country representative Sandra Bernklau also said that life-saving equipment contributed to the health ministry's ambitions to ensure that all women receive the support and care they need during childbirth safely.

She added that additional training for use of the equipment would also be key to building a resilient and responsive healthcare system where everyone can receive quality care.

“We commend our partners, the government of Japan and the Royal Government of Cambodia for working together to achieve these common goals,” she said.