Globally, nearly 300,000 women and over 3 million infants die each year from complications in pregnancy and birth – with unplanned pregnancies often carrying the highest risk. Here in Cambodia, as evidenced by our last Demographic and Health Survey, 206 Cambodian women needlessly lose their lives for every 100,000 live births -- usually from preventable and treatable causes.
You all are playing an important role in promoting land reform and the sustainable management and protection of Cambodia’s environment. It is only through our combined and coordinated efforts that we can ensure a better future for millions of Cambodians.
The U.S. government, through President Obama’s global food security initiative known as “Feed the Future,” strives to increase agricultural production, incomes, nutrition, and the resiliency of rural households. I am very pleased to inform you all that Cambodia was one of nineteen countries in the world selected to participate in this initiative.
Of the many challenges we face as a global community – and there are many – health crises constitute among the most serious. Today, the headlines tell us of the toll that Ebola has taken in West Africa. Not long ago the world faced repeated outbreaks of SARS, multiple influenzas, not to mention the continued threat posed by HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, measles – I could go on. But I won’t. What I do want to point out is that our single greatest defense against these threats is our health workers. These men and women fight on the front lines every day at great risk to themselves to protect us. Helping them to become a coordinated, disciplined, qualified, and effective fighting force is what this gathering is all about.
Cambodia, a country of just over 15 million people in Southeast Asia, has made great progress after 20 years of rebuilding from decades of civil war, enjoying steady economic growth rates over the recent decade and significant improvements in quality of life. Having once had the region’s highest HIV rate, Cambodia cut its prevalence rate in half from 1998 to 2010 and has made incredible advances in education and the fight to save infant and mothers’ lives.
Last updated: July 11, 2016