by Mom Chantara Soleil and Tiep Seiha
Some 5,500 residents, 16% are children, in far-off Malik commune of Ratanak Kiri province on Apr. 8 applauded the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of commune’s first ever health center.
“Promoting health care and sanitation is a key priority of Ratanak Kiri because about 78% of our population are still facing the issues. Some are still praying only when there is any sick member of the family. In Malik commune, we haven’t got even a health post. So construction of the health center supported by pharmaceutical company GSK through Plan means a lot to the locals,” said Ratanak Kiri Deputy Provincial Governor H.E. Keo Savoeun who chaired the event.
Financed by international pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) through child rights organization Plan in partnership with Department of Health and the community themselves, the construction with estimated cost of US$ 120,000 will be completed early next year.
“GSK uses 20% of our profit to share back to the community, to improve their health and their lives. We partner with NGOs to promote health facilities, especially where it’s most needed. Plan has been an effective partner. This is the forth health center we have supported through Plan ,” said Dr. In Narin, representative from GlaxoSmithKline.
Though advances have been made since 2010, there remain basic health issues faced by the people, in particular children and women, in Malik commune located more than 50 kilometers from the provincial town to the north.
Cambodia Health Demographic Survey 2014, the latest source available, indicates that in Ratanak Kiri, antenatal care visited by skilled health personnel in was 76% comparing to 95% for national average. Child birth delivered by skilled health personnel in was 53.6% against 89% national average.
Post-natal checkup within two days after child delivery was 38.5% against 87.9% national average. Children under-one year old fully immunized were 43.9% against 73.4% national average. And children under 5 years old who are under-weight was 32.2% against 28.6% country average.
Although under-five death rate decreased to 35 per 1,000 live births in 2014 from 54 in 2010 and mother death rate declined from 206 per 100,000 live births to 150 for the same period, it remains a threat in the province.
Country Director of Plan International Cambodia Mr. Jan Jaap Kleinrensink expressed his thanks to the government partner, GlaxoSmithKline as well as the community people.
He added: “In addition to the construction, Plan and the Ministry of Health and sub-national health program will adapt capacity building activities to ensure that they are effective for Khmer staff to support mixed Khmer and ethnic minority populations.”