Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Every baby counts – surviving after birth in Cambodia

A journey to post-delivery care

Baby Sothea benefited from post-partum care.
© UNICEF Cambodia/2013/Bloomfield
Ask Soeung Samin what the births of her two children have in common and she’ll tell you that both were born in a car on her way to Kampong Thom Provincial Hospital. But ask her what the difference was and she will tell you that a traditional birth attendant helped with the first while a trained midwife helped with the second. A trained midwife who then continued to the hospital with her to make sure she and baby Sothea received the special care necessary for all mothers and their newborns.
In Cambodia three out of four children who die in their first month, die in the first week, mainly because of complications from lack of post-delivery care which Samin and baby Sothea received.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Creating a happy childhood - Replacing residential care with family reintegration in Cambodia

14 year old Sopheak* (left) and 13 year old Dara* (right) in front of their aunt’s home. They enjoy riding their new bicycles to school. The bikes were provided with funds for family reintegration (*names changed).
 © UNICEF Cambodia/2013/ Reid

On a quiet afternoon in Kouk Doung village, in Siem Reap province, northwest Cambodia, brothers Sopheak* (14) and Dara* (13) are enjoying rides on their new bicycles. They like the freedom of being able to travel around with ease. “I want to work as a taxi driver when I finish school,” says Sopheak. “And so do I,” echoes Dara.
The boisterous teens were not always so happy or carefree.  Following the death of their mother in a motorbike accident in 2005 both spent approximately six years of their childhoods living in residential institutions. Their father - badly affected by the loss of his wife - took to drink, sold his property and spent all the money on alcohol. He neglected and abused his sons and it was only the intervention of their aunt Song Sophors* which prevented serious injury.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Eliminating Mother to Child Transmission of HIV in Cambodia

Bopha (name changed) talks with Hang Kimhorn, a counselor in the
antenatal clinic at Samdech Ov Hospital, Phnom Penh
© UNICEF Cambodia/2013/Bloomfield

Thirty-three year old Chea Bopha (name changed) is glad that she took an HIV test early in her pregnancy. Two months pregnant and feeling unwell she decided to go the antenatal clinic at Samdech Ov Hospital. “I was very sick,” said Bopha, “[with] weakness, tiredness, fever and diarrhoea.” Accompanied by her husband, Bopha received counselling before receiving the test – a finger prick for a drop of blood. The result came back in a short time: positive. Bopha was immediately referred for treatment.  

Although the test result was distressing, Bopha welcomed knowing her status. The counselling helped her to understand why she had been ill and provided her with information about the treatment she will receive to protect her baby. “I want my baby to be healthy,” said Bopha as she looked affectionately at her raised abdomen.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Supporting children to stay in school

8-year-old Pin Kimsean happily receives her school uniform in
Kear Commune, Battambang Province
© UNICEF Cambodia/2013/Seneh Siv
Eight-year-old Kimsean (whose nick name is Pong) lives with her grandparents, Mr. Soung Sai, 58, and Ms. Voeun Soeun, 62, and her four-year-old younger brother, Mithona. The family live in a small wooden house with a zinc roof in Run village, Kear commune, Moung Ruessei district, located about 60 kilometers from the Battambang provincial town. Kimsean is in grade 2 at Damnak Run Primary School which is located about 2.5 kilometers from her home. Usually, Kimsean walks to school with her friends, who she plays with both at school and at home. When Kimsean was three months old she was diagnosed with having valvular heart disease.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

UN Radio: UNICEF tackles water hygiene in Cambodia

Constructing a toilet in Cambodia

Improving hygiene and protecting water sources from contamination, remain key challenges for Cambodia.