Women’s Health Project: Expanding Access to Essential Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in Cambodia

By: Fiona Mills, Sexual and Reproductive Health Consultant

Women’s Health Project (WHP) is a global project working to expand access to safe abortion and long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), including post abortion family planning. After more than a decade of remarkable achievements and close collaboration with key stakeholders, WHP in Cambodia is coming to a close.

In preparation for project phase-out in 2020, PSI/Cambodia developed a series of program briefs detailing major insights and accomplishments over WHP’s 12-year lifespan. The briefs are organized around three themes: safe abortion, LARC, and PSI/C’s social enterprise.

Increasing Access to Safe Abortion

Globally, unsafe abortions are responsible for 13% of maternal deaths. In 2000, Cambodia’s maternal mortality rate was one of the highest in the region at 437 deaths per 100,000 live births, with maternal deaths linked predominantly to complications from unsafe abortions, eclampsia, and hemorrhage. Since then, sustained efforts by the Royal Government of Cambodia and key partners have achieved significant progress in expanding access to safe abortion and, as a result, by 2014 maternal mortality rate had dropped to 170 deaths out of 100,000 live births.

From importing and distributing Cambodia’s first registered medication abortion (MA) product to expanding the number of trained providers and raising awareness of safe abortion services, PSI/C has played a pivotal role in developing a sustainable market for MA in Cambodia. Read more about WHP’s vital role in expanding access to safe abortion in the Increasing Access to Safe Abortion program brief.

Increasing Access to LARC

Global data shows that increasing access to modern methods of family planning reduces the maternal mortality rate by preventing unintended pregnancies and reducing closely spaced pregnancies and the need for unsafe abortion. Over the past two decades, Cambodia has made significant strides in expanding access to family planning services – and since 2000, the modern method contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) has more than doubled.

To learn more about how WHP expanded access to high-quality LARC products and services take a look at the Increasing Access to LARCs program brief.

Launching the Enterprise Fund

With donor trends shifting away from subsidizing health commodities, it’s imperative to have stable, established, sustainable markets in place to ensure continued access to essential health products. PSI/C’s Enterprise Fund applies commercial principles to create a sustainable commodity supply chain and deliver sustained health impact.

The Launching the Enterprise Fund program brief documents WHP’s critical role in supporting PSI/C’s transition from a revolving fund to a self-sustaining enterprise.

WHP was made possible through generous donor support and partnership with key stakeholders. PSI/C wishes to thank the Royal Government of Cambodia and local partners for over a decade of support and collaboration. PSI/C would also like to thank each Sun Quality Health Network provider for their commitment to high-quality services and dedication to improving the health of Cambodian women.