Along with Dr. Dale Knutson, a missionary pediatrician serving with Mission to the World (MTW) in Cambodia, we have developed an “Under-Fives Clinic” and children’s program. Every day, an estimated 50 children under the age of five die, mainly because of preventable and treatable diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia. Newborn survival is a key factor and adds to this astounding statistic as well. Malnutrition is a significant problem, and there is a widespread shortage of skilled health personnel. Many have no access to the health system.
Our goal is to decrease the morbidity and mortality of these precious children. We are working in a rural area in both Kampot province and Kampong Speu province where several pastors live and have planted churches. MTW missionaries have held health screenings here in the past so they have built a relationship with the people. Our first step was to do an initial assessment of needs including nutrition screening of the children. We have already begun to train volunteers from these villages as Village Health Workers (VHW) to recognize the signs and symptoms of childhood illness, to examine and treat, and to educate the parents as well. Making use of Community Health Evangelism materials, the Program educates and prepares VHWs to help people in their respective villages meet basic health needs. This community-centered approach to health care has had outstanding results in other developing countries.