Contributing to better health outcomes in Cambodia is one of the three key objectives of the Aid Investment Plan 2015-2018.
Access to health care in Cambodia has improved dramatically over the past decade. Maternal mortality ratio has fallen from 472 per 100,000 live births in 2005 to 170 per 100,000 live births in 2014. Similarly, under-five mortality has decreased from 83 per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 35 per 1,000 live births in 2014. Delivering babies in health facilities has increased from 24 per cent in 2005 to 80 per cent in 2014 and full vaccination of children for preventing three common infectious diseases and hepatitis B has increased from 79 per cent in 2005 to 98 per cent in 2014.
However, quality of care in the public health system remains low. The private health sector is largely unregulated with many informal and low-quality private providers.
Australia’s health program in Cambodia improves access to quality health services for the poorest Cambodians. Australia is the largest bilateral donor assisting the Cambodian Government to deliver essential health care, particularly to poor and marginalised groups. We also partner with non-government organisations to improve reproductive, maternal and neonatal care in remote provinces.
Our programs deliver great results in a challenging area. Through the combined efforts of the Cambodian Government, Australian Government, and other development partners, the poorest 20 per cent of Cambodians (approximately 3.0 million people) have access to free essential health care. As a result of our joint performance-based funding schemes, health facilities across the country are better equipped and staff are more motivated to work. Midwives are improving their skills, particularly in the remote north-east provinces. With Australian support, vulnerable young women working in twelve garment factories now have access to better reproductive health information and services.
Health Equity and Quality Improvement Initiative
$55.34 million, 2016-2021
Australia is leading discussions on health finance reform with the Ministries of Health, Economy and Finance, including advocating for more efficient and effective use of the Cambodian Government’s own health budget.
Australia is collaborating with the World Bank and other development partners on the Health Equity and Quality Improvement Project (H-EQIP). H-EQIP is providing performance-based funding directly to health centres and hospitals to help them deliver tangible improvements in health services. Through H-EQIP, and in partnership with the German Development Agency (GIZ) and the Cambodian Ministry of Planning we are also identifying the poorest Cambodians (through the Identification of Poor Household Program) and reimbursing their essential health care costs.
Australia previously supported the health sector through the Second Health Sector Support Program (2009-2016). This program concluded on 30 June 2016.
Partnering to Save Lives (PSL) Program
$19.75 million, 2013-2018
In 2013, we launched Partnering to Save Lives, a partnership between CARE, Save the Children, Marie Stopes International, the Australian Government and the Royal Government of Cambodia. Partnering to Save Lives improves reproductive, maternal and neonatal care, particularly in Cambodia’s four remote north-eastern provinces. Partnering to Save Lives also provides reproductive health information and services, including to young women working in Cambodia’s garment factories.