Health care in Cambodia

In Cambodia, about 85 percent of the population living in rural area and not having access to primary health care, among other basic services. To improve this situation, Cambodia's health care system is getting a boost through a program that contracts for better health service delivery in rural areas, which is already proving successful. The new country's health strategy 2008-2015 proposes to scale up contracting programs to reach more of the poor and further improve health care system performance, including independent monitoring and evaluation.

Hospitals and Clinics

There are many public hospitals in most of the provices in Cambodia but the quality of services still poor. The only most popular hospital in Phnom Penh is Calmette Hospital. There are also many private local and international clinics available also in Phnom Penh.

Health Education

The Health Educations in Cambodia are provided by some None Profit Organizations and ministries for teaching important concepts to all ages of Cambodian people. The main goal of the Health Education is to reduce morbidity and mortality rates of illness. Specific objectives include:

  • To evaluate the knowledge about illness and prevention techniques within the community;
  • To increase knowledge and initiate behavioral change regarding illness and prevention techniques within the community;
  • To support the community in the prevention of disease;
  • To strengthen the capacity of the public health services to provide effective health education for the community.

Most active Health Education are provided by the Health Education Department of the National Center which is responsible for parasitology, entomology and malaria control education activities in 4 health programs:

  1. Malaria
  2. Dengue
  3. Helminthiasis / Schistosomiasis
  4. Filairiasis
  5. Health Info

Overall care improved for several reasons, says HealthNet International, one of the contracted NGOs. Of critical importance was an end to private practice among public workers.

Salaries were so low in the government clinics, at $10-$30 per month, that health workers had to seek other income. Many openly sold their services outside of the health centers and could earn 10 times more than their official salaries.

Payment was raised to levels high enough to get staff to dedicate 100% of their time to the public system. Doctors and district managers settled for salaries from $120-$180 per month.

“Existing district health managers have worked in an environment where it was unwise to make unpopular decisions. Many managers in charge are afraid to discipline staff as they fear dreadful repercussions,” says HealthNet.

An outsider is not hindered by longstanding relationships with staff and managers, and with reasonable incentives can get acceptance of new ideas.

“Civil servants expect life-long employment, and generally speaking, do not take risks that could jeopardize that position. The contract manager (by contrast) knows he has to score within the contract period,” says HealthNet. Failure to perform could mean no renewal.

By boosting salaries and putting in financial incentives, NGOs are getting clinic staff to stop private practice and ensure quality of care. Efficient and cleaner clinics are getting noticed, and patients are abandoning often more expensive outside treatment, and spreading the word.