Mothers and Children May Be the Most Affected by COVID-19 

Mothers and children are threatened by the direct and indirect outcomes of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic in the country. Photo: UNICEF Cambodia Facebook page.
  • Phoung Vantha
  • June 12, 2020 12:21 PM

Tens of thousands may suffer in Cambodia due to lack or disruption of basic medical services

PHNOM PENH--Child and maternal mortality in Cambodia could increase by 35 to 50 percent over the next year as essential services are disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report of Global Financing Facility (GFF).

Large service disruptions in Cambodia have the potential of leaving as many as 313,900 children without oral antibiotics for pneumonia, and 441,200 children without DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) vaccination, the report states.  

GFF—which is part of the World Bank Group and helps governments in low- and lower-middle income countries prioritize and finance health and nutrition for their people—estimates that there currently are 77,600 women without access to healthcare facilities to deliver their babies, and 559,900 fewer women receiving family planning services in the country.

Which is why maintaining essential health services during the pandemic is critical to prevent these severe outcomes and protect Cambodia’s gains made over the past years in reducing maternal and child mortality, GFF said in its report. 

Or Vandine, spokesperson for the Minister of Health, could not be reached on  Friday (June 12) for comments on the GFF report.  

On June 1, The Save the Children NGO and  the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said that hundreds of millions of children remain multidimensionally poor—meaning they lack access to healthcare, education, proper nutrition, or adequate housing—often a reflection of  countries’ inequitable investments in social services.

They urged governments to also invest in other forms of social protection, fiscal policies, employment, and labor market interventions to support families. Strategies should include, they said, expanding universal access to quality healthcare and other services.

UNICEF Cambodia said on its Facebook page that it is responding to the needs of the 2.2 million most vulnerable groups in Cambodia through a COVID-19 Cash Transfer Program.

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