The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with Helen Keller International, will organize a January 27 workshop to introduce the project “Treatment and care of children with an acute, moderate and severe malnutrition”.

A joint statement from the two institutions said the purpose of the workshop was to formally introduce the project, and raise awareness among stakeholders about its details. The workshop will also clarify the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders and discuss the next steps of project implementation.

The workshop, to be held in Phnom Penh, will be will be attended by stakeholders from government agencies and development partners, including the Ministry of Health and health departments, donors, UN agencies, civil society organisations and journalists.

According to the Preliminary Report of the Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey 2021-2022, about 10 per cent of Cambodian children are malnourished. Although child nutrition is a key priority of the Kingdom’s national development policy, many programmes are not yet adequately linked to investment to ensure adequate resources are available.

An estimated 50,000 children with severe malnutrition are not accessing treatment. This has led to an increase in mortality and morbidity rates among children under the age of five. The report said this presented a barrier to the optimal growth of children, as well as the Cambodian national economy in the future.

A lack of awareness of the consequences of malnutrition, as well as budget constraints and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, are contributors to the insufficient local and external funding for programmes to combat emaciation.

Cambodia’s Global Action Plan on the issue of children’s emaciation identified 13 provinces as geographically important in the fight against the problem. Four activities (health, food, social protection, clean water and sanitation) are prioritised by the plan, which will cost an estimated $25 million over three years. Currently, there is a budget shortfall of $17.2 million.