Cambodian Hospitals Begin Treating Malnutrition With Support From URC’s Better Health Services Project

With technical assistance by URC’s Better Health Services (BHS) project, the Cambodian Ministry of Health (MOH) has begun rolling out programs to treat malnutrition. In Cambodia, 44% of children below the age of five years chronically malnourished, 28% are underweight, and 8% are acutely malnourished.  Twenty percent of women are chronically energy deficient (thin), and 44% of reproductive age women and 57% of pregnant women are anemic.   

During 2011, BHS provided technical support to the National Program on Nutrition (NNP) to update the National Interim Guidelines for Management of Acute Malnutrition and develop a new Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) for hospital treatment of malnutrition.  The MOH identified 29 public hospitals around the country as eligible to provide services for the treatment of malnutrition in children.  While the NNP, with support from WHO, has provided training to health staff, BHS is distributing supplies for the identified hospitals and for use in trainings.  More hospitals are currently being identified where additional training will be undertaken. Supplies for screening, monitoring and treatment include scales, height/length boards, laminated weight-for-height reference sheets, naso-gastric tubes in various sizes, glucometers, and an initial supply of blood glucose strips for testing and monitoring blood glucose levels in malnourished pediatric patients.  BHS is also providing direct follow-up support to implementation of these new treatment guidelines and CPG in the three hospitals which offer these services in USAID supported provinces.  

The approach used by BHS to develop nutrition programming demonstrates the project’s health systems strengthening approach.  BHS supports the mission of the Cambodian Health Strategic Plan 2008–2015 by working to 1) improve the quality of public health care services; 2) increase the utilization of and demand for such services while pursuing the MOH’s pro-poor goals; and 3) support on-going and new health reform efforts aimed at increasing the transparency and accountability of health services through decentralized, contractual structures. 

The approach used by BHS to develop nutrition programming demonstrates the project’s health systems strengthening approach.  BHS supports the mission of the Cambodian Health Strategic Plan 2008–2015 by working to 1) improve the quality of public health care services; 2) increase the utilization of and demand for such services while pursuing the MOH’s pro-poor goals; and 3) support on-going and new health reform efforts aimed at increasing the transparency and accountability of health services through decentralized, contractual structures.

Date 
April 30, 2012
Authors 
Katherine Krasovec, ScD, Technical Advisor for Nutrition, Child Health and Safe Motherhood, Better Health Services Project
Regions/ Countries