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PRESS RELEASE May 29, 2020

World Bank Approves $15 Million for Cambodia’s Pre-Service Education System for Health Professionals

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 29, 2020—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a $15 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Cambodia Strengthening Pre-Service Education System for Health Professionals Project to strengthen Cambodia’s pre-service education system for health professionals to improve the quality of care for better health outcomes.

Cambodia faces a shortage of qualified health professionals, especially in the public sector. Cambodia has only 1.4 doctors and 9.5 nurses and midwives per 10,000 people. These ratios are significantly below the average of 9 doctors and 19 nurses per 10,000 people among low- and lower-middle income countries in the East Asia and Pacific region.

In Cambodia, doctors typically work at secondary- and tertiary-level facilities, while primary care facilities are almost entirely staffed by nurses and midwives. While a majority of general practitioner doctors work at the provincial level (63 percent), most specialists are deployed to hospitals at the central level (79 percent).

To help Cambodia address these challenges, this project will support the Human Resources Development Department of the Ministry of Health to strengthen the governance of health professional education, including regulations and standardization for health professionals’ education, National Competency-based Exit Examination, and technical assistance and knowledge exchanges on health professional education.

The project will also support the development and delivery of competency-based training programs by the University of Health Science and Regional Training Centers in six health professional programs: general medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, midwifery, and laboratory. These programs were prioritized by the recently developed National Strategic Plan for Pre-service Education in Health Sector in Cambodia 2020–2025. Gender aspects and social inclusiveness will be mainstreamed in the development and delivery of these competency-based training programs.

“Investing in capacity building for health professionals by equipping them with better knowledge and skills to deal with emergencies such as the COVID-19 outbreak and strengthening health sector governance are crucial for Cambodia’s health service delivery system,” said Inguna Dobraja, World Bank Country Manager for Cambodia. “The World Bank is committed to help Cambodia improve healthcare for the Cambodian people, particularly the poor and the most vulnerable.”