About 500 indigenous residents in remote villages in and nearby the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province are receiving health care services from a mobile health clinic. The clinic was set up by the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary REDD+ Project, in coordination with the Italian Association for Aid to Children in Cambodia (CIAI) and the Provincial Health Department.

CIAI is working with the Mondulkiri provincial department of health for three years, from 2021-23, to provide mobile health clinics.

According to Keo Seima REDD+, residents of five remote villages have had health care services delivered to them at least twice in the last five months,following the establishment of a mobile health clinic last August.

“The mobile health clinic was set up to address the emerging health care challenges of the local community. The clinic provides services for those that cannot travel far to access them, and improves the general health and sanitation of the villages,” it said.

The five indigenous villages are Putang, Pou Ke, Gati, Poucha and Pou Nhav. The mobile clinic has a doctor, a midwife and a nurse and conducts monthly consultations and a health check-up programme for each community in each village.

“In cases where serious health conditions are found, the doctor will refer them to a health centre for treatment. In addition, those who visit the clinic also receive training on health and sanitation from the medical team after their check-up,”the project said.

It said the training had changed the behaviour of local people relating to giving birth. Since receiving training and advice from the clinic, more and more women are using health centres, and none have given birth at home.

Kreung Tola, adviser to the Bunong indigenous communities in Mondulkiri, supported the provision of medical treatment and care and the establishment of clinics for indigenous peoples who were isolated and unable to travel to hospitals or health centres.

“It is good to have this service for the indigenous people, but I am concerned about the limited number of doctors. I want the service to reach out to other indigenous people as well, not just to those in and near the wildlife sanctuary.”

Tola said that health problems are a major issue. He suggested that some indigenous people did not access health care despite feeling unwell, because of the costs associated with travel and treatment.

“Some of us lack the means to travel to medical services. That is why I want the health care services from these mobile health clinics to be extended to even more remote areas,” he said.