Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Women’s health gets $14m boost

Women’s health gets $14m boost

Women’s health gets $14m boost

Taking strides to curb Cambodia’s high maternal and child mortality rates, health officials yesterday launched a $14 million initiative to improve women’s limited access to reproductive health care.

During the three-year Partnering to Save Lives campaign, funded by AusAid, NGOs Care Cambodia, Marie Stopes and Save the Children aim to expand reproductive, maternal and neonatal care.

“This is about saving mothers and babies through a strategic partnership,” Heidi Brown, director of the initiative’s coordination and learning unit, said.

Cambodia has among the worst maternal mortality rates in the region. At 250 women dying per 100,000 live births according to the 2013 State of the World Report, the number is nearly double the Kingdom’s 2015 Millennium Development Goal.

Cambodia’s child mortality rate also remains high compared to regional standards; over 50 children die daily from preventable diseases.

“We have not achieved our targets … yet, because some women are living in very remote areas, ethnic minorities, [and] migrant groups,” Eng Huot, secretary of state at the Ministry of Health, said.

One of the partnership’s main goals will be a push to address the shortage of trained health personnel. Almost half of the 360,000 births annually take place outside a health centre, and nearly a third lack a trained birth attendant.

“Our aim is to have a midwife in every health centre,” Brown said.

The partnership will also expand the number of health professionals licensed to provide legal abortions.

Although Cambodia legalised abortion in 1997, unsafe and black market abortion drugs still cause many maternal deaths, and NGOs have found women often go to a clinic only after having already unsuccessfully attempted an abortion on one or more occasions.

“In many cases women don’t know that legal, safe, and quality health services are available to them,” Stefanie Wallach, country director of Marie Stopes, said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen ready to ‘break record’, says Rainsy lost

    Caretaker prime minister Hun Sen used a meeting with 18,400 factory workers on Wednesday to predict that he would beat the record for being the world’s longest-serving non-royal leader. He also used the platform to slam political opponent Sam Rainsy who he said had lost

  • Sihanoukville land prices skyrocketing amid breakneck development

    Sihanoukville, the Kingdom’s most famous beach destination for tourists, is seemingly becoming a paradise for Chinese investors as well. The huge influx of Chinese investors has caused property values to rise, especially the price of land, which has nearly doubled in some places near

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by