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Gains in health care

A staffer at Phnom Penh’s Kantha Bopha Hospital gives free medicine to mothers waiting for prescriptions for their children. Cambodia continues to face challenges to reach health goals set by the United Nations for 2030, a study has found.
A staffer at Phnom Penh’s Kantha Bopha Hospital gives free medicine to mothers waiting for prescriptions for their children. Cambodia continues to face challenges to reach health goals set by the United Nations for 2030, a study has found. Sahiba Chawdhary

Gains in health care

Cambodia has made significant leaps in improving access to health care for its citizens, according to an extensive study published this week, though like other countries worldwide it faces a “challenging road” to hit health targets for 2030 set by the United Nations.

The study, authored by researchers from the University of Washington and published in medical journal the Lancet, measured 37 metrics ranging from vaccination rates to malaria incidence in 188 countries over 25 years in countries around the world.

In one important measure – access to health care – Cambodia made noteworthy progress, according to researchers. They said the Kingdom was among six countries that saw “notable improvements” since 2000.

“In Cambodia, extended health reforms began in the 1990s, gradually rebuilding the country’s health system,” the authors wrote.

However, they added Cambodia remains a low-ranked country overall. According to their health index, it ranks 133rd out of 188 countries – three places behind Iraq and one ahead of Ghana.

Myanmar ranked 140th, Laos 145th, Vietnam 120th and Thailand 83rd.

The study’s authors expressed concern that most countries are projected to miss the UN’s health-related Sustainable Development Goals, which were set in 2015, without “extraordinary financial and political commitment by national and international agencies”.

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