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PHNOM PENH, 9 August 2010 (IRIN) – Cambodia must increase the number of trained health professionals to reduce its high maternal mortality rate, experts say.
There is one doctor or midwife for every 1,000 people in Cambodia, compared with two per 1,000 in Thailand, and 12 per 1,000 in Japan, according to the World Health Organization [http://www.who.int/whosis/whostat/EN_WHS10_Full.pdf].
“We need more experts, like midwives and medical doctors, and more equipment,” said Keth Ly Sotha, deputy director of the National Maternal Child Health Centre.
While 56 percent of births are attended by a health professional – up from 32 percent in 2000 – Cambodia is unlikely to meet its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) [http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/] of reducing maternal mortality to 140 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2015, said Sherif Rushdy, a UN Development Programme [www.undp.org] consultant.
With 540 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, Cambodia has the second highest maternal mortality rate in the region, after 660 per 100,000 births in Laos, according to WHO.