Improving Midwifery Care in Cambodia – Women Deliver

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Improving Midwifery Care in Cambodia



Since 2005, Cambodia has seen a significant decline in maternal and newborn mortality and a transition from most births taking place at home to the majority taking place in government facilities. This shift is largely due to targeted interventions led by the local government, with the support of a range of partners, including NGOs and UN organizations, to increase access to quality maternal healthcare. Amplified investment in midwifery education, a scale-up in the number of midwives providing antenatal care, financial incentives for facility-based midwives for every live birth conducted, and an expanding system to make healthcare free for poor people, have greatly contributed to improved quality of care and improved health outcomes. Non-health factors such as: political stability, economic growth, improved primary education (particularly for girls), improved access to health information, and improved transportation infrastructure, have lent to this positive turn.




Access to improved primary healthcare, with a focus on midwifery, was seen across the public and private health sectors. In 2010, 71 percent of all births were assisted by a skilled birth attendants — 55 percent in health facilities and 15 percent as home deliveries. Preservice education and in-service training for midwives has been prioritized, and all health centers have at least one primary midwife. The percentage of births in public facilities rose to 61 percent by 2011. Nearly 70 percent of these births took place in health centers while 31 percent in took place in hospitals — which indicated more women with complications are reaching hospital level.


  1. “Socio-economic Improvements and Health System Strengthening of Maternity Care are contributing to Maternal Mortality Reduction in Cambodia,” Jerker Liljestrand and Mean Reatanak Sambath 
  2. “Cambodia Demographic & Health Survey 2010,” Darith Hor, et al

For more programs, initiatives, and strategies that are delivering for girls and women please view The Improve Maternal and Newborn Health and Nutrition policy brief

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