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Czech obstetricians help reduce maternal and under-5 mortality in Cambodia

While 30 years ago the infant mortality rate was around 11%, today the situation in Cambodia is four times better.  Czech Development Cooperation has longstanding focus on health, as one of the development priority sectors. Thanks to the transfer of know-how and the necessary supplies of medical equipment, Cambodian doctors are able to carry out their work with high quality. In 2022 continue cooperation between the Czech Development Agency and the General University Hospital in Prague. In January, representatives from this Czech partner organisation visited Cambodia for an assesment mission.

From 21 January 2022 to 01 February 2022, a team from the General University Hospital in Prague and the 1st Faculty of Medicine of Charles University in Prague, representing the Vita et Futura Foundation, an official implementer of the project Czech Perinatology Hands to Cambodia, was on a mission to Cambodia. The team consisted of Prof. MUDr. Antonín Pařízek (Head of the Perinatology Centre of the Gynaecology and Obstetrics Clinic of the 1st Faculty of Medicine of Charles University and the University Hospital, Chief Perinatologist of the Central Bohemia Region), Alžběta Němcová (midwife), Michal Krsek (IT specialist from the CESNET Association at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic) and MUDr. Jan Přáda. The team was mainly working with the local partner organisation, the National Paediatric Hospital (NPH), which is a long-term partner of the Czech Development Cooperation. The current project aimed at building a perinatology centre based on the model of the Czech centre, of which Prof. Pařízek is the head, is a continuation of the previous implementation of the Development of the Neonatology Department. NPH built the building with resources from the local Ministry of Health and is now awaiting equipment delivered from the Czech Development Cooperation (contractor Caritas Czech Republic and DKSH Cambodia, March 2022).

The Czech Embassy to Phnom Penh, in collaboration with NPH, organized a roundtable to present the Vita et Futura project to other maternal and child care stakeholders in Cambodia. Representatives from NPH, WHO, KOFIH, GIZ, UHS and ITC (partners of the biomedical engineering project) participated in this discussion and Czech Development Councellor presented activities of the Czech Republic in the Health Sector in Cambodia. Through this opportunity, important contacts and insights were gained on the current situation of digitalization and statistics in the field of Maternal and Child Health Care, which is targeted by the project. This was followed by a visit to Kampong Chhnang province, where the team met with the head of the provincial health department and the directors of the three hospitals to be involved in the project. This was followed by a tour of the provincial hospital, which has been reconstructed and partially equipped from the resources of the Czech Republic's Cooperation within the framework of the project Improving the quality of health care in Kampong Chhnang province (ended in 2020, implemented by Caritas of the Czech Republic and Caritas Cambodia). This cooperation will be built upon in the framework of the current project mainly through a new assessment of current needs (both material and training) and the introduction of regular screening of pregnant women - in this context, the team presented a tablet solution that could be appropriate in the given context. Further digitization consists of registering pregnant women in a mobile app, a pregnancy guide, online learning materials available for health personnel, and data collection at all levels to evaluate statistics.  The project is to place an obstetrician from the GUH in the NPH from April 2022, the Czech Republic will thus follow the tradition of GIZ (German Development Agency), which had a doctor present there for several years.

The project will provide training for medical staff, moreover, the NPH has the potential to become a certified training unit for other hospitals in the field of maternal and child care. Likewise in the previous project, an exchange visit by a Cambodian delegation is planned. Three groups of 7 participants are expected to visit Prague during the fall of 2022.


Mise Apolinář