Cambodia has achieved significant improvements in health outcomes in the past few decades. Indicators across all areas of primary care have improved significantly: life expectancy has increased, child health has improved, maternal mortality has decreased, and accessibility to basic water and sanitation has improved. Malaria and HIV are successfully controlled as Cambodia has moved towards eliminating these diseases. Health financing has improved and Cambodia has successfully expanded the Health Equity Fund nationally to provide health insurance to the poor. The Cambodia-Thailand border continues to be an epicenter of drug-resistant malaria with hard-to-reach, vulnerable populations in this area particularly at risk.
For the past 19 years, URC has implemented projects in Cambodia supporting health areas ranging from infectious diseases to family health. URC’s efforts in Cambodia have included support for quality improvement (QI), health systems strengthening, research and evaluation, health communication, and behavior change.
URC’s work in Cambodia started with the USAID Quality Assurance Project in 1990 with technical assistance and operations research carried out on health care QI. URC has continued to implement programs in Cambodia for USAID and other donors, with numerous projects focusing on QI, health systems strengthening, and malaria.
Since 2007, URC has supported the Royal Government of Cambodia and the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control (CNM) to move toward malaria elimination through three consecutive USAID projects:
- Malaria Control in Cambodia (2007-2012), which developed, adapted, and expanded the use of evidence-based interventions for malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment and strengthened malaria program management capacity;
- Control and Prevention of Malaria Project (2012-2016), which consolidated proven malaria interventions, further reducing incidence, and began working with the CNM to envision what malaria elimination would look like; and
- Cambodia Malaria Elimination Project (2016-2021), which further refined the model elimination package and has implemented best practices to address the incidence of malaria in forest areas. Now the project is working with the CNM to scale up the model to a growing number of provinces.
USAID Cambodia interviewed Dr. Sokomar Nguon – URC’s Senior Technical Advisor on the Cambodia Malaria Elimination Project (CMEP) – for their Health Champion series. Dr. Sokomar has worked diligently to decrease malaria cases in the Battambang, Pailin, and Pursat Provinces. These border provinces experience some of the highest rates of malaria transmission among mobile and migrant populations.
- URC’s support of Cambodia’s malaria elimination efforts initiated under CMEP will continue under the Cambodia Malaria Elimination Project 2 (CMEP 2).