Cambodia’s recent economic growth and poverty reduction have translated into rapid improvements in the health of its people. From 2000 to 2014, life expectancy for Cambodians increased from 66 to 71 years, and maternal and under-5 mortality dropped significantly. However, the country continues to face challenges in delivering quality health and nutrition services for women, children and adolescents, and maternal and child undernutrition remains a key issue. Although child stunting has declined over the past 30 years, stunting rates remain high at 32 percent. Maternal undernutrition is common: 14 percent of women of reproductive age are underweight and nearly half suffer from anemia. These trends, in addition to poor health and nutrition during pregnancy, contribute to high stunting rates and maternal and neonatal mortality.
The GFF Partnership Response
Led by the Royal Government of Cambodia, the country’s investment case prioritizes the delivery of quality health and nutrition services to accelerate progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The Ministry of Health, together with the country’s multi-stakeholder platform have identified the three most pressing priorities as part of the Cambodia’s Investment Case: Reducing neonatal mortality, lowering teenage pregnancy, and addressing child undernutrition. Focus is also placed on closing equity gaps in seven priority provinces with high concentrations of vulnerable women and children including ethnic minority populations.
The GFF partnership supports initiatives to increase coverage of good-quality services and to strengthen community awareness and demand for these services. It also addresses supply-side bottlenecks including low provider training and capacity; limited accountability for delivering health and nutrition services in adherence to clinical guidelines; and insufficient availability of necessary equipment, commodities, and supplies. The GFF support is pooled with other development partners and aligned to domestic platforms to defragment financing and integrate service delivery with the ultimate goal of helping Cambodia reach Universal Health Coverage.
The GFF engagement has provided an entry point to bring together stakeholders from the health, nutrition, and local government sectors to harmonize efforts and enhance focus on quality across the continuum of care for women, newborns, infants, and children in Cambodia. Beginning with the country’s existing priorities, the GFF has fostered a focus on high impact and relatively under-financed areas. Further, by supporting quality improvement and filling the gap for delivery of services at the community level, the GFF helps to enhance service delivery and effective coverage. The GFF has cemented equity as a core principle of its engagement and this will be addressed at multiple levels: services, delivery platforms, and geographies. As such, the GFF will help to address socio-demographic disparities in RMNCAH-N outcomes.