Ten schools across Mondulkiri province will receive new medical rooms equipped with patient beds, basic first aid equipment and female sanitation kits for adolescent girls, according to the UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). 

The Mondulkiri provincial health and education departments and the UNFPA Cambodia Country Office on June 24 handed over equipment and materials to support the scaling up of sickbays across the province to improve the health and well-being of adolescents and youth.

The initiative is being taken on by UNFPA, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. In Mondulkiri, the provincial departments have collaborated to meet the specific healthcare needs of local communities. 

“Ten schools (five secondary and five primary) will receive new health rooms equipped with patient beds, basic first aid items and dignity kits for adolescent girls. 

“This ensures that students in remote areas have access to essential reproductive and healthcare services and information, health education and first aid within their schools,” UNFPA said in a June 24 press release. 

Mondulkiri is the first province in the country to implement this model of sub-national partnership between the health and education departments.

“By establishing these school medical rooms, we are investing in the future of our next generations and empowering them to take charge of their health and well-being. When young people have access to reproductive health services, essential healthcare and accurate information within their schools, they can make informed decisions, overcome barriers and focus on their education. 

“The provincial health department is proud to partner with the provincial education department to ensure a healthy and bright future for every student in Mondulkiri province,” provincial health director Bun Sou was quoted as saying in the press release. 

“We deeply appreciate the partnership with UNFPA and the close collaboration with the Mondulkiri provincial health department.

“By allowing students access to primary health services in schools, we have improved their access to youth-friendly health centres, effectively supporting the government's vision of building human capital by prioritising student health, including sexual and reproductive health,” it quoted provincial education director Ly Samik as saying. 

“Providing comprehensive information to empower Indigenous students in the northeast about their rights and choices will further engage them in education, particularly by supporting them in delaying early marriage,” he added. 

The equipment handover ceremony was attended by representatives from both departments, school officials and UNFPA. 

The UN agency expressed its pride in partnering on the initiative with the two departments.

The collaboration marks a significant milestone in provincial efforts to prioritise the health and wellness of its students, it said in the press release. The school sickbays are expected to have a positive impact on attendance, academic performance and overall community health.

“Ensuring that all adolescents and youth have access to sexual and reproductive health information, support and services will ensure that young people are able to make informed decisions about their health, well-being and futures,” UNFPA representative in Cambodia Sandra Bernklau said in the press release.