Cambodia’s First Lady appointed national champion for women’s and children’s health
23 February 2011
The First Lady of Cambodia, Lok Chumteav Bun Rany Hun Sen, has been appointed the National Champion for the UN Secretary-General’s Action Plan for Women’s and Children’s Health at a ceremony in Phnom Penh on 21 February.
In her role as National Champion, Bun Rany will regularly visit health centres across Cambodia to advocate for healthy motherhood with midwives and other health professionals, women and their families, as well as local communities.
The UN Secretary-General launched the Action Plan in April 2010. It is a roadmap that identifies the finance and policy changes needed to improve health and save women’s and children’s lives.
Cambodia has one of the highest levels of maternal mortality in Asia, with 461 deaths per 100,000 live births. With a strong tradition of delivering babies at home, less than half of all babies are delivered in a health facility in Cambodia, and just 60% of births are assisted by trained birth attendants.
Integrated approach to the health MDGs
Although the country has a long way to go to meet its Millennium Development Goal 5 (improve maternal health) target by 2015, it has seen progress in recent years by addressing the health related MDGs through a joint and comprehensive approach. In 2007 Cambodia adopted the “Linked Response Initiative,” a national strategy to expand access to HIV, reproductive and sexual health, family planning, tuberculosis and maternal health services using the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission as an entry point.
These national innovations to health delivery are leading the way to breaking down barriers to broader health care which an isolated approach to AIDS cannot achieve
UNAIDS Country Coordinator, Tony Lisle
Additionally, resources for the AIDS response are supporting integrated laboratory services at referral hospitals allowing tests for TB, malaria, HIV and sexually transmitted infections to be carried out in a single laboratory enabling cost and labour efficiencies and rapid return of results to patients.
“These national innovations to health delivery are leading the way to breaking down barriers to broader health care which an isolated approach to AIDS cannot achieve,” said UNAIDS Country Coordinator Tony Lisle. “It translates to a far more effective use of scarce resources and brings many more women and their children closer to meaningful and comprehensive care.”
It is hoped that Bun Rany’s role as National Champion for the UN Secretary-General’s Action Plan for Women’s and Children’s Health as well as her role as National Champion of the Asian Pacific Leadership Forum on HIV and Development will strengthen the country’s integrated approach to tackle MDGs 4, 5 and 6 and will complement the leadership of the Royal Government of Cambodia on addressing maternal and child health and HIV. Cambodia received a Millennium Development Goal Award in September 2010, an acknowledgement of the country’s efforts to halt and reverse the AIDS epidemic.