Maternal and child health
© UNICEF Cambodia/Nicolas Axelrod
Maternal mortality remains among the highest in the region, at 206 deaths per 100,000 live births. This means that an estimated 1,700 women die during pregnancy, delivery and the postpartum period every year. Cambodia also has some of the highest child mortality rates in the region. Although under-five mortality has steadily declined, from 124 to 54 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2000 and 2010 respectively, neonatal mortality – deaths within the first month of life – has declined at a slower rate, from 36 per cent to 27 per cent between 2000 and 2010. As a result, around 10,000 babies die in the first month of life every year, mostly due to preventable conditions.
Malnutrition remains a significant problem, with 40 per cent of children under five stunted and 28 per cent underweight, according to Cambodia’s 2010 Demographic Health Survey. Poor nutrition in young children is largely driven by inadequate complementary feeding practices, poor hygiene and high prevalence of diseases, including diarrhoea.
Micronutrient deficiencies remain widespread in Cambodia. Anaemia is common among children under five, with a prevalence of more than 80 per cent among children under two. Meanwhile, Vitamin A supplementation of children aged 6 to 59 months has significantly increased, from 11 per cent in 2000 to 60 per cent in 2010. Nevertheless, deficiencies in iron, zinc and calcium remain among the top concerns for children across Cambodia.
What we do
- Support the 24-hour functioning of health centres; equip health centres with solar powered batteries; support costs for electricity and gas; improve water and sanitation in health facilities; ensure a 24-hour guard presence; and support communication systems at health centres.
- In close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, work with Commune Committees for Women and Children and Commune Councils to identify and contract
village health volunteers and coordinate and monitor their out-reach activities, such as health promotion and food demonstration sessions.
- Work with the Commune Committees for Women and Children and village health volunteers to stimulate demand for health services and improve family and community care practices by facilitating access to health services through organization of transportation systems for health emergencies; identification of transport providers for remote areas; negotiation of transportation fees; support of dissemination of information among villagers on transportation arrangements; arrangement of housing for pregnant women to stay before delivery; and liaison with religious leaders to address misconceptions.
- Document experiences and lessons learnt to influence policy development at the national level.