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Cambodia site visit: What The Eliminate Project is all about (Post 1)

 

By Jo Lynn Garing, Public Relations Manager, Kiwanis International

At Veal Ang Popel Health Center in Kampong Speu province, I met 20-year-old Nam Sophanna who was in labor. She was sitting calmly on a bench, IV drip attached to her arm. Her husband was waiting anxiously nearby, and other family members were waiting as well.

This was their first child, and you could tell that everyone was excited for the new family member to arrive. I asked her (through a translator) if she had received her tetanus immunization, and she responded she had. I also wanted to know how she knew to come to the health center rather than deliver the baby in her village. I shouldn't have been surprised when she responded that she was a local health volunteer for her village so of course she knew to come to the health center to have her baby.

Some villages have one or two volunteers responsible for outreach. They mobilize the women and children in the village when health activities, like immunizations, are taking place, and they encourage them to go to the health centers for services. The system works well because it teaches village residents what services are there and how to use them.

Systems like this are improving maternal health and child survival. More than 10 years ago, there were many tetanus cases in Cambodia. Soon, the country could be tetanus free. Many provinces already are. And that's what The Eliminate Project is all about.

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