Improving Access to Obstetric and Gynecologic Care in Cambodia

Access to obstetric care in Cambodia is improving rapidly. According to the 2014 Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey (2014 CDHS), 95% of expectant mothers surveyed received antenatal care, and the number of births attended by a skilled health worker increased by nearly 20% compared with the 2010 CDHS. Access to postnatal care also improved—90% of new mothers received care within 2 days of delivery, and more than three-quarters received care within four hours of delivery. These promising statistics underlie the nation’s declining maternal mortality ratio, which fell from 472 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2005 to 170 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2014.

Despite recent progress, many barriers remain for Cambodian women seeking access to obstetric and gynecologic care. The 2014 CDHS found that factors including socioeconomic status and residing in a rural versus urban area impact health care access and health outcomes. Three-quarters of the women surveyed reported facing one or more barrier to care—a three percent increase from 2010. Inability to pay for health services was the most common barrier cited, with more than half of the women surveyed indicating that this prevented them from receiving treatment.

HVO’s collaborating institution Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital (SKMH) seeks to address barriers to care for individuals living in Kampot, Cambodia. Kampot is one of the poorest provinces in Cambodia. Access to health care there is limited, as is the number of trained health providers. The providers at SKMH offer patients safe, compassionate care on a sliding pay-scale, so a lack of financial resources does not prevent patients from receiving the care they need.

HVO supports the dedicated health workers at SKMH by recruiting qualified health professionals to provide education, training, professional development opportunities and mentorship to medical students, residents and staff at the hospital. HVO’s partnership with SKMH includes projects in internal medicine, anesthesia and, as of this week, obstetrics and gynecology (Ob-Gyn). Volunteers to our new Ob-Gyn training project at SKMH will provide formal lectures and informal continuing education to the chief of the hospital’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Department. Volunteers will also provide training in obstetrics and gynecology to medical students, general medical residents and midwives.

HVO looks forward to strengthening our partnership with SKMH and building on recent progress towards the goal of increasing access to obstetric and gynecologic care for women throughout Cambodia.

HVO’s Ob-Gyn program is supported by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. View a complete list of our Ob-Gyn training projects on our Ob-Gyn program page.

Not an obstetrician or gynecologist? HVO has projects in more than 14 different medical specialty areas! Use the HVO Project Finder to identify the project that is right for you. You can also support our mission, and the global health workforce, by making a gift to HVO.

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