Health, wealth and happiness: Taking back Cambodia’s healthcare system

With the help of foreign donors, Cambodia has taken steps toward universal health coverage. Those in the system say it’s still not enough.

The woman had arrived with her son that morning, and now the young boy whimpered softly as she wiped his small body with a cloth, her face stamped with worry.

Dengue fever, said the doctors – just one of more than 32,000 child cases recorded this year in Cambodia. Mother and son had travelled here to Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital in Phnom Penh from the neighbouring Kandal province, where the boy had been infected after a mosquito bite. After going first to a private clinic closer to home, they had made the journey to Kantha Bopha for more advanced care.

Now, the nappy-clad son was curled on a bed in the intensive care unit of the children’s hospital, where an IV kept a steady drip of medication flowing through a tube into his leg.

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