Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lack of medics could heighten outbreak risk

Lack of medics could heighten outbreak risk

A doctor checks on a patient at Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital earlier this year.
A doctor checks on a patient at Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital earlier this year. Heng Chivoan

Lack of medics could heighten outbreak risk

Effective response to emerging infectious disease threats relies on a health care system that can stop outbreaks before they reach a national or international level, an ability that could be severely constrained by Cambodia’s lack of adequate health care personnel, according to a new study.

According to a new framework for modelling outbreak risks, published in the peer-reviewed PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases journal on Friday, Cambodia has the fewest health care workers per capita of any nation in the Asia-Western Pacific region – at just 1.2 per 1,000 citizens – which limits its ability to curb outbreaks while they’re still manageable.

“In our model, the size of the health care workforce was used as a proxy for detection and response capacity; however, each country’s situation will be different,” said one of the authors, Nicholas Geard.

Vicky Houssiere, spokeswoman for the WHO in Cambodia, said in an email that the country “recognises the importance of this issue”, and was taking appropriate measures.

However, Sopha Chum, of the Health and Development Alliance, yesterday said that far from building up the workforce, the government was only barely managing to replace retiring doctors, and underfunded programs pertaining to infectious diseases. “The government should invest more in health and increase the recruitment of health care workers,” said.

Ministry of Health officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia to waive quarantine requirements Nov 15, no PCR test required

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has decided to lift all quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers and visitors – both Cambodians and foreign nationals – effective from November 15 onward. In a special message addressed to officials and relevant authorities on November 14, Hun Sen said this policy will enable

  • PM: No more quarantine for vaccinated travellers

    Cambodia is lifting all quarantine requirements for vaccinated inbound travellers entering Cambodia by air, waterway or land border checkpoints effective from November 15. Travellers will be required to take a rapid antigen test on arrival rather than waiting for the results of the lengthier polymerase chain

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration