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Press Release

May 22, 2007
New national Cambodian survey finds big decline in childhood mortality

Calverton, MD – The newly released 2005 Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey (CDHS) shows a remarkable decline in childhood mortality over the past five years. Both infant and under-five mortality have declined by more than 30% since 2000. Currently, there are 66 infant deaths per 1000 live births, down from 95 deaths per 1000 live births five years ago.

In part, this progress is due to better vaccination coverage. Vaccination coverage has improved significantly in the past five years. Two-thirds of children ages 12-23 months have received all recommended vaccinations (BCG, three doses of DPT and polio, and measles). In 2000, only 40 percent of children had received all of these vaccinations.

The CDHS also found positive changes in the behavior of pregnant women. Almost twice as many pregnant women visited a health care provider in 2005 than in 2000. The CDHS found that antenatal care (ANC) has almost doubled since 2000, with 69% of pregnant women getting care compared with 38% in 2000. ANC helps to ensure a healthy baby and a safer delivery.

The CDHS offers further evidence that Cambodia is well on its way to meeting its Millennium Development Goals. But the CDHS also reveals health indicators that continue to need attention. For example, one in every twelve Cambodian children still dies before reaching age five. Four-fifths of these deaths occur in the first year of life. Vaccination coverage is dramatically lower in some areas, such as Mondol Kirk/Rattanak Kiri, than in others. While ANC has increased, 78 percent of births still take place at home. The 2005 maternal mortality rate is 472 deaths per 100,000 live births, which is comparable to the 2000 figure.

The Health Ministry and other government officials will use the data from the CDHS to revise existing programs and plan new ones to improve the health of all Cambodians. Although Cambodia’s health indicators rank lower than Thailand’s and Vietnam’s, government officials are confident that the progress measured by the 2005 CDHS will continue in the coming years.

The 2005 CDHS was implemented by the National Institute of Public Health and the National Institute of Statistics, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Macro International Inc. provided technical assistance. The survey was funded by the United States Agency for International Development and other international donors.