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Health workers in Cambodia are undervalued and need to be incentivised if public health services are to improve for rural poor


Health workers in Cambodia are undervalued and face huge challenges which prevent them from working effectively in the provision of public health services, a report published today reveals.

Research carried out by VSO in partnership with MEDiCAM, highlights the barriers faced by health workers in the country.

The report, Valuing Health Workers, urges the government to address low salaries, shortages of drugs and equipment, poor support and inadequate supervision and calls for greater investment in the professional development of health workers.

Commenting on the Valuing Health Workers report, VSO Cambodia’s Country Director, Chea Vantha, says:

‘We are calling for the development of a coherent national policy on health worker incentives such as an immediate increase of 20 percent in all health workers wages, improved management, supervision and an accredited university course in health service and hospital management. We ask the Government to take these forward as a matter of urgency’.

Dr Sin Somuny, Executive Director of MEDiCAM, adds:

‘We must improve the motivation for health workers if we are to provide better quality health services to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. We must ensure that health service managers are held to account professionally for the services they should be providing’.

Attending the launch event, Sir Brendan Barber, recently retired General Secretary of the UK’s Trades Union Congress (TUC), commented on his recent advocacy workshops provided for partner organisations: He says:

‘Advocacy is a vital method of ensuring that the findings of this important report do not just sit on a shelf gathering dust, but are used by Cambodia’s leaders and policy makers’.

The launch event, held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Friday 8 November, was presided over by H.E. Professor Eng Huot, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Health.

A copy of the Valuing Health Workers Report can be downloaded here:

To request further information or to arrange an interview with a VSO spokesperson, please contact the VSO International press office on +44 (0) 20 8780 7381 / +44 (0) 7810 658133

Editor’s notes

VSO, Voluntary Service Overseas, brings people together to fight poverty through the lasting power of volunteering. We work alongside communities worldwide to create positive change. Our programmes are in some of the world’s poorest countries reaching millions of people through improved access to services in education, health, HIV/AIDS, disability, and governance. VSO’s vision is of a world without poverty, but we can only achieve this by working together. To find out more, visit

MEDiCAM is a membership organisation for NGOs working in the health sector in Cambodia. To find out more, please visit:


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