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Cambodia launches the campaign of antenatal care within the first month after missing a period

© UNICEF Cambodia

Cambodia, 16 January 2009 - Each day almost 5 women die in Cambodia due to pregnancy related complications. Each year this amounts to around 1800 women dying giving life in Cambodia.

With the support from UNICEF and the European Commission, today, the National Maternal and Child Health Centre and the National Centre of Health Promotion of the Ministry of Health jointly launched the Behaviour Change Communication campaign: “Antenatal Care within the First Month after Missing a Period”. The campaign aims to contribute to an increase in the number of women who seek their first ante natal care visit at a health centre within the first month after missing their period, from 5.6% to 25%, between January 2009 and December 2009. 

Through proper antenatal care (ANC) women will receive key basic health services that could be vital to their well-being and that of their babies.  The key basic health services include Iron-Folate supplementation to prevent anaemia. It also includes immunization against Tetanus and health education on other health issues and health care relevant to pregnant women. In combination the services and information provided through antenatal care visits are essential and can contribute to the reduction of both maternal and infant mortality.

“The reduction of maternal and infant mortality is a key priority for the Royal Government of Cambodia. Today’s launch of the communication campaign to promote the use of early antenatal care complements the Ministry of Health’s efforts to improve basic health service delivery“, H.E. Eng Huot, Secretary of State, Ministry of Health said this morning. 

“Much ill health among pregnant women is preventable, detectable or treatable, especially in the early stages, through antenatal care. The earlier women come for antenatal care, the greater are the benefits of key services to them and their children”, Mr. Richard Bridle, Representative of UNICEF shared during today’s launch.

Throughout the year, the campaign will communicate the benefits of early ANC services to all families, using a mix of TV, radio and print media. In seven selected provinces (Kampong Speu, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Kampong Thom, Odar Mean Chey, Stung Treng and Mondulkiri), the National Centre for Health Promotion and the Provincial Health Promotion Units have additionally trained health centre staff and thousands of Village Health Support group volunteers to promote antenatal care through inter personal communication.

“The launch of this comprehensive and decisive antenatal care campaign is also an opportunity to raise the public profile of Health Promotion and market the pivotal role played by NCHP in encouraging behaviour change up to the most remote areas of Cambodia provinces. Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno, Charge d'Affaires of the European Commission stated during his speech.

 “This campaign is unique in Cambodia, using a mix of media and multiple communication channels over a long time period to encourage pregnant women to come in early for ANC services. We expect the outcome over the long run will be a significant reduction of maternal and child mortality, particularly in the seven provinces.” Dr. Lim Thai Pheang, Director of NCHP informed.

Background: The ANC campaign is a part of the Health Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) project jointly funded by UNICEF and the European Commission.  The total budget for the project, which is running from January 2005 to December 2009, is €5.7 million.  The objective of the project is to strengthen the capacity of MoH staff and health workers at national, provincial, district and village level to practise effective behaviour change communication for health
For more information, please contact:
Prof. Koum Kanal, Director of the National Maternal and Child Health Centre
HP: 012 943 785, Email:

Dr. Chim Sopharo, Deputy Chief of Technical Office, National Centre for Health Promotion
HP: 012 764423, Email: or

Dr. Tan Try, Programme Communication Specialist, UNICEF Cambodia
Desk Phone: 023 426 214, ext 203, Email:






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