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USAID FRONTLINES highlights Social Health Protection Project's work to alleviate poverty with health insurance
by URC Communications team
April 9, 2014

USAID's Frontlines magazine featured an article by Tapley Jordanwood, URC's Chief of Party in Cambodia for the USAID Social Health Protection Project. In "Lifting Cambodia’s Poorest Out of Poverty with Health Insurance", Mr. Jordanwood introduces families whose participation in the Health Equity Fund insurance program has saved money--and lives.

Soy Neart with her three daughters, Photo courtesy Tapley Jordanwood, Chief of Party, USAID Social Health Protection Project
Soy Neart with her three daughters, Photo courtesy Tapley Jordanwood, Chief of Party, USAID Social Health Protection Project
URC Participates in 44th World Conference on Lung Health
by Jessica Yaman, URC Project Coordinator
October 29, 2013

URC will again have a significant presence at this year’s Union World Conference on Lung Health from October 30–November 3 in Paris, France. In many of the 22 countries that account for more than 80% of TB cases worldwide, we are supporting national TB programs through innovative approaches to address systemic barriers to effective prevention and treatment. The conference provides an opportunity to share our TB work with thousands of health care professionals, researchers, and advocates.

A doctor (with clip board) consults a multi-drug resistant TB patient in Bangladesh. Photo courtesy of the TB Care II Bangladesh project.
A doctor (with clip board) consults a multi-drug resistant TB patient in Bangladesh. Photo courtesy of the TB Care II Bangladesh project.
Health Systems Strengthening in Cambodia: The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts
by Christophe Grundmann, Chief of Party, and Katherine Krasovec, Technical Advisor for Nutrition, Child Health, URC
September 19, 2013

The USAID Better Health Services (BHS) and preceding Health Systems Strengthening projects implemented by URC in Cambodia since 2002 provide examples of why the whole is sometimes greater than its parts. These projects used a variety of strategies to improve the quality of care delivered by public health services, increase the utilization of and demand for such services while maintaining the pro-poor goals of the Ministry of Health (MOH), and support on-going and new health reform efforts aimed at increasing the transparency and accountability of health services through decentralized, contractual structures. Activities were aligned closely with and in support of national strategies and plans. After 11 years, the results are significant.

A Cambodian family heads home after a visit to the health center. Photo by Jerker Liljestrand.
A Cambodian family heads home after a visit to the health center. Photo by Jerker Liljestrand.
URC Recognizes World Breastfeeding Week
by Beth Goodrich, Senior Editor, with contributions from URC staff*
August 1, 2013

URC is pleased to recognize World Breastfeeding Week, held globally in the first week of August to promote the importance of breastfeeding for infant nutrition and health. The theme this year is “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers.”  This story summarizes URC’s work to ensure that WHO recommendations are embraced by both health care systems and families and that mothers are supported in their efforts to breastfeed.

World Population Day 2013: URC Recommits to Global Family Planning
by Luis Ortiz-Echevarria, Knowledge Management Specialist; Luigi Jaramillo, Senior Technical Advisor; and Nancy Newton, Senior Advisor, Behavior Change & Communication
July 10, 2013

On this World Population Day, the global community pays particular attention to the unique reproductive health needs of young people. Globally, 16 million adolescent girls give birth each year. Early marriage, lack of access to youth friendly services, lack of knowledge, peer pressure, violence, and coercion are among the challenges faced by young people. Since 1980, URC has supported more than 40 countries around the world, including the United States, in the development of successful family planning and reproductive health programs. To learn about URC's program efforts in Cambodia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Jamaica, the Philippines, Uganda, and more, please see our technical brief and resources.

BHS helped to translate globally endorsed family planning resources for local use, including the Family Planning Global Handbook for Provider (left) and the WHO's Contraceptive Wheel (right).
BHS helped to translate globally endorsed family planning resources for local use, including the Family Planning Global Handbook for Provider (left) and the WHO's Contraceptive Wheel (right).
URC Helps Cambodia Ministry of Health Prepare for Cervical Cancer-screening Program
by By Jerker Liljestrand, Team Leader, Maternal and Newborn Health and Family Planning, USAID Better Health Services Project
May 10, 2013

With support from the USAID Better Health Services Project (BHS) implemented by URC in Cambodia, the Preventive Medicine Department of the Ministry of Health and its partners are collaborating to expand the availability of cervical cancer screening to the general population.

The New Patient Registration Database Approved for Cambodian Referral Hospitals
by Dr. Mean Reatanak Sambath, M&E and Health Informatics Program Leader, BHS
November 8, 2012

After a year of operation, the new computerized patient registration system at Siem Reap Provincial Hospital has registered over 15,000 patients and met with the approval of the Ministry of Health (MOH).The system was introduced at the hospital in November 2011 by the MOH, with support from the USAID Better Health Services project implemented by University Research Co., LLC (URC).

Health care workers and staff use the new patient registration database system. Photo by Oeng Sothary.
Health care workers and staff use the new patient registration database system. Photo by Oeng Sothary.
Cambodian Health Center Services Improve Significantly after Introduction of the Maternal and Child Health Book
by Ms. Bou Savy, Behavior Change Communication Team Leader
October 25, 2012

Cambodian health care workers’ use of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Book is resulting in significant improvements in the quality of maternal, newborn, and child health and nutrition services and counseling at health centers. This key finding emerged from follow-up conducted by operational district health staff and the USAID Better Health Services project implemented by University Research Co. LLC (URC). The follow-up coaching and assessment found that midwives and nurses were using the MCH book routinely to provide better quality maternal, newborn, and young child health and nutrition care.

A health worker at Sar Sar Sdum Heath Center (right) uses the MCH book to counsel a mother on infant feeding. Photo by Pich Hatha.
A health worker at Sar Sar Sdum Heath Center (right) uses the MCH book to counsel a mother on infant feeding. Photo by Pich Hatha.
URC Presents on Cambodia’s Health Information System to the Government of Vietnam
by Hien Le, TB-HIV Technical Manager, Vietnam and Mean Reatanak Sambath, M&E and Health Informatics Program Leader, BHS
October 19, 2012

On May 16, at the request of the Government of Vietnam, URC staff from Cambodia presented at the 6th National Conference on Information Technology for Health in Vietnam. Dr. Mean Reatanak Sambath, the Monitoring and Evaluation and Health Informatics Program Leader for the Better Health Services (BHS) Project implemented by URC in Cambodia, had been invited by Vietnam’s Ministry of Health to share the innovation and achievements of the Cambodian Health Management Information System (HMIS), which has improved the availability and use of health data in the country. The HMIS contains service delivery data from all health facilities in Cambodia, such as the number of antenatal care visits, number of family planning client visits, and number of cases of infectious diseases.

Dr. Mean Sambath describes the process for developing the new HMIS in Cambodia. Photo by Lien Thu Thi Nguyen.
Dr. Mean Sambath describes the process for developing the new HMIS in Cambodia. Photo by Lien Thu Thi Nguyen.
Journal Article Analyzes Cambodia’s Reductions in Maternal Mortality
by Beth Goodrich, Senior Editor
August 10, 2012

Maternal mortality ratios are declining worldwide, including in Cambodia, where long-held home birth practices are finally giving way to facility births. URC Cambodia-based staff Jerker Liljestrand and Mean Reatanak Sambath explore the reasons for rising facility births and falling maternal mortality and recommend continuing improvement in an article in the June 12 issue of Reproductive Health Matters.

Cambodian hospitals begin treating malnutrition with support from URC’s Better Health Services project
by Katherine Krasovec, ScD, Technical Advisor for Nutrition, Child Health and Safe Motherhood, Better Health Services Project
April 30, 2012

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.  

URC’s Better Health Services Project Revitalizes Continuing Medical Education in Cambodia
by Lao Chantha, CME Team Leader, Hospital Improvement Program
April 25, 2012

Innovative learning methodologies introduced by URC’s Better Health Services (BHS) project in Cambodia are reviving health care workers’ interest in continuing medical education (CME). As BHS introduces team-based learning (TBL) in select hospitals, hospital staff are providing positive feedback about this participatory methodology, an important change from the customary, lecture-based approaches to learning used to date in Cambodia.

A staff member at Angkor Chum Referral Hospital practices performing an abdominal exam during CME. Photo by Jane Kurtzman.
A staff member at Angkor Chum Referral Hospital practices performing an abdominal exam during CME. Photo by Jane Kurtzman.
Survey Finds Significant Improvement in Maternal/Newborn Care in Cambodia
by By Dr. Jerker Liljestrand, Senior Technical Advisor, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health
April 25, 2012

A 2011 survey by URC’s Better Health Services (BHS) project in 16 hospitals and a health center has found significant improvements in the quality of maternal and newborn care. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding the five-year BHS project to work with the Ministry of Health and other partners in five USAID-supported provinces to increase demand for and equitable access to quality health services. Systematic implementation of correct, evidence-based, and timely diagnosis and treatment is still a problem, but many indicators of quality care are improving. Project goals recognize that Cambodian women need skilled care at delivery and that providers must be able to 1) provide high-quality care for normal births and 2) identify and respond quickly and effectively to complications.

Cambodia project produces new film, materials for safe delivery training
by Jerker Liljestrand and Paul Freer
November 29, 2011

The Cambodia Better Health Services (BHS) project have produced a new film and accompanying learning materials to train midwives in Cambodia in proper delivery practices and care. The film, called “A Safe Delivery,” covers topics such as preventing infection, good delivery and immediate post-delivery practices, communicating with mothers and families, and postpartum and newborn care.

A midwife checks on a woman in labor, from the film
A midwife checks on a woman in labor, from the film "A Safe Delivery."
URC’s Cambodia Better Health Systems Project Participates in Meeting Focused on Enhancing Electronic Medical Records Systems
November 14, 2011

With assistance from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Better Health Services (BHS) Project sent four Cambodians to the 6th annual OpenMRS (Open Medical Record System) Annual Implementer's Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, in mid-October. The session significantly advanced BHS efforts to strengthen a critical piece of Cambodia’s health system. Managed by URC and funded by USAID, BHS is building the capacity of public and private health service delivery systems; expanding models for health financing; improving the quality and impact of maternal, neonatal, and child health services; and strengthening the control of infectious diseases.

The Cambodian delegation discusses how to integrate OpenMRS and the Cambodian public and private health system to ensure better health care for all.  Photo by Hong Rath.
The Cambodian delegation discusses how to integrate OpenMRS and the Cambodian public and private health system to ensure better health care for all. Photo by Hong Rath.
Cambodian Ministry of Health Launches National Health Information Database with Support of URC’s Better Health Services Project
by Aida Olkkonen
October 6, 2011

Today, Cambodia’s Department of Planning and Health Information (DPHI) of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Better Health Services Project (BHS) officially launched the national Health Management Information System (HMIS) database: www.hiscambodia.org. The web-based database collects and stores health information from health facilities at all health system levels nationwide, facilitating effective public health programming and responsive health policies.

NGO health providers practice using the HMIS web database during a training session on Sept 20-21, 2011 in Siem Reap province.
NGO health providers practice using the HMIS web database during a training session on Sept 20-21, 2011 in Siem Reap province.
Better Health Services Project Builds Professionalism among Health Providers in Cambodia
by Paul Freer and Aida Olkkonen
September 9, 2011

The USAID Better Health Services (BHS) project in close collaboration with the Cambodia University of Health Sciences and Ministry of Health held a regional workshop providing continuing medical education (CME) to over 150 health professionals from eight provinces in Cambodia from August 31 through September 2.  Participants included doctors, medical assistants, senior nurses, midwives, and lab staff.  There have been twelve regional workshops held so far. This workshop was the fifth that BHS has supported. 

The opening ceremony of the regional workshop.  Photo taken by: Lao Chantha
The opening ceremony of the regional workshop. Photo taken by: Lao Chantha
Improving referral systems for obstetric emergencies in Cambodia
by Jerker Liljestrand
September 1, 2011

URC’s Better Health Services (BHS) project has helped to improve a patient referral system in Cambodia so that women with a complicated delivery get to a hospital and that midwives receive payment for their work.

A nurse oversees the referral of a patient from a health center in the Angkor Chum Operational District
A nurse oversees the referral of a patient from a health center in the Angkor Chum Operational District
World Population Day 2011: URC contributes to family planning efforts
by Aida Olkkonen and Luigi Jaramillo
July 11, 2011

This week, the United Nations Population Fund is urging organizations to mark World Population Day, which raises awareness about the needs of our growing global population.  Later this year, the world population is projected to reach seven billion.

Since 1980, University Research Co., LLC (URC) has supported countries in developing successful and sustainable family planning programs and helped make gains in reproductive health, one of our six areas of expertise. URC’s projects in Cambodia and Guatemala provide examples of our ongoing efforts to support healthy populations.

A poster from the Calidad en Salud (
A poster from the Calidad en Salud ("Quality in Health") Project promoting family planning services.
URC’s Better Health Services (BHS) project supports the Cambodia Delegation to the Asia Pacific Leadership Forum on Health Information Systems
by Mean Sambath
June 17, 2011

URC’s Better Health Services (BHS) project, which works with the Cambodian Ministry of Health to increase demand for and equitable access to quality health services, provided support to the Cambodian delegation to the Asia Pacific Leadership Forum on Health Information Systems (HIS). Health Information Systems are the mechanism for collecting and disseminating health data from health facilities around the country and are critical for monitoring health services and health indicators and for strategic planning and decision-making.

Dr. Mean Sambath, BHS Program Leader for Health Informatics and M&E, addresses the Forum
Dr. Mean Sambath, BHS Program Leader for Health Informatics and M&E, addresses the Forum
Cambodia holds First Hand Hygiene Day with support from Better Health Services Project
by Om Chhorvoin
June 17, 2011

As part of a national campaign to improve infection control and strengthen patient safety, Cambodia organized the first National Hand Hygiene Day on June 16, 2011.  The day focused on the importance of hand hygiene in medical care.  Hand washing is frequently a low priority for health providers, but can significantly lower the rates of hospital-acquired infections.  

Professor Thir Kruy, Secretary of State for Health, performs hand hygiene with soap and water
Professor Thir Kruy, Secretary of State for Health, performs hand hygiene with soap and water

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