Remarks by USAID Cambodia Mission Director Rebecca Black at the Health Project Close-Out Event: Reflections on Five Years of Achievements

Friday, December 20, 2013
Health Project Close-Out Event: Reflections on Five Years of Achievements
Remarks by USAID Mission Director Rebecca Black  Health Project Close-Out Event: Reflections on Five Years of Achievements
USAID Cambodia Mission Director Rebecca Black makes opening remarks at an event to review achievements in maternal and child health. Phnom Penh, Cambodia - December 20, 2013.
USAID/Michael Gebremedhin

Your Excellency Professor Eng Huot, Secretary of State, Ministry of Health

Professor Tung Rathavy, Director of the Ministry of Health’s National Maternal & Child Health Center

Excellencies, distinguished guests, development partner representatives, ladies and gentlemen.  Thank you for having me here.

I would particularly like to acknowledge our health implementing partners, including the Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia (RHAC), the Reproductive and Child Health Alliance (RACHA), University Research Co., LLC (URC), Population Services International (PSI) and Marie Stopes International (MSI), for organizing this important event.

After the signing of the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements and the re-opening of the USAID Mission in Cambodia, the U.S. government took a strategic, long-term approach to supporting the development needs of Cambodia.  A key component of this strategy was to help Cambodia rebuild its health sector.  As a result, the health sector has received over half of the U.S. government’s assistance to Cambodia in the last two decades, and remains a high priority for USAID today.

At the time that USAID/Cambodia re-opened, the Royal Government of Cambodia re-established the Ministry of Health.  In over 20 years, USAID/Cambodia and the Ministry of Health have worked closely together to rebuild and revitalize the national health system.

USAID’s implementing partners has taken on much of the work collaborating with the government to build capacity in Cambodian hospitals, health centers, and communities.  Together they have trained and supported the health care workers who improve the lives of Cambodian mothers and children every day.

Their technical assistance, closely coordinated with our fellow development partners and under the stewardship of the Ministry of Health, has gradually improved the quality of basic health services in Cambodia.  We have worked together to prevent and control major infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and avian influenza – with excellent achievements in all areas.

Evidence has shown that this work is paying off in maternal and child health.  More women are delivering in hospitals, and fewer are dying in childbirth.  Contraceptive prevalence rates, while still with a long way to go, are improving.  Cambodia has been recognized internationally for early achievement of key Millennium Development Goal targets in maternal and child health, with mortality rates declining substantially in a remarkably short period.

We will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Health and development partners to help prioritize activities and support innovations and policies that improve the health of Cambodian people.  Together, we have greatly increased the resources available for essential health programs.  Agreement on our common approaches – some of which you will hear about today – and agreement on policy has resulted in achievements for mothers and children across Cambodia.

As today’s event marks the achievements of the past five years, it also begins a new chapter in working together to ensure that maternal and child mortality continue to fall.  Later this morning, our Health Office Director, Monique Mosolf, will describe our strategic vision for the next five years of USAID assistance in Cambodia’s health sector.  We will keep our eyes focused on ensuring every child reaches their fifth birthday healthy and well-nourished, and that every teenage girl and boy have the knowledge and ability to realize their dreams for who they want to be.

Cambodia’s continued economic growth and development depend on a healthy population.  As Cambodia turns its focus to providing higher quality, more responsive health services to those who are most vulnerable, the U.S. government looks forward to continuing a productive partnership.

Thank you.

Hotel Cambodiana, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Issuing Country