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

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro