Access to health care in Cambodia has improved dramatically. For example, delivering babies in health facilities 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 have also partnered 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 have improved 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
$57.34 million, 2016-2021
Australia is supporting 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).
Recently completed initiatives
Partnering to Save Lives Program
$19.75 million, 2013-2018
In 2013, we launched a partnership between CARE Australia, Save the Children Australia, Marie Stopes International Australia, the Australian Government and the Royal Government of Cambodia. Partnering to Save Lives improved reproductive, maternal and neonatal care, particularly in Cambodia’s four remote north-eastern provinces, which have significant ethnic minority communities. The program also provided reproductive health information and services in other parts of the country, including to young women working in Cambodia’s garment factories.