Good health for all citizens is a basic human right, crucial for the well-being of families and communities and a key element in the success of a nations development helping to alleviate poverty at a household level.
Healthier and better educated women are more productive economically and are critical to providing healthy children, strong families, communities and, ultimately, strong nations.
With women representing 51% of the total population, efforts to improve the health status of women in Cambodia has been prioritised. Many contributors have funded health projects and the Cambodian government have progressively increased their efforts to target the health related Millennium Development Goals (MDG) for Cambodia. However despite this progress, achievement of these goals still remains a significant challenge.
Detailed information on health statistics are scarce and most information is presented in national aggregate form. According to the Worldbank “the health status of the Cambodian population is amongst the poorest in Asia”
Access to health services in Cambodia is hindered by a lack of facilities and an inability by many people to pay for treatment. It is estimated that less than 5% of the rural population has access to any kind of medical care, and 90% of women in Cambodia suffer from long-term infections of various kinds, many of which are treatable if discovered early. For example, there are no routine screening programs for pap smears and mammograms, and treatment is non-existent for most women because they cannot afford services from the few hospitals that exist. Also, in 2011, there were just five pathologists and seven pathology laboratories for all of Cambodia’s 14 million inhabitants.
The Cambodian Gender Assessment in 2008 highlighted that a significant number of women (88.5% in 2005) reported difficulties in accessing medical care. Having money to pay for treatment was the key issue (74.1% in 2005), followed by the problem of no available provision of relevant medication.