New Community Paper Aims To Educate Public on Health Issues

Community Health Newspaper, a new publication that aims to im­prove public health in rural areas, published its first issue on Monday, according to its editor-in-chief.

The eight-page paper will be prin­ted seven times yearly and distributed free-of-charge during major holidays such as Valentine’s Day and the Water Festival, Editor-in-Chief Chhay Sophal said Monday. Targeted at commune leaders and local health NGO workers, it will in­clude stories on HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, sexual and reproductive health, and other public health-related issues.

“At the communal level in some provinces, access to information is limited, so when local authorities understand health care, it will help them develop it within their ter­ritory,” Mr Sophal said, explaining that he hoped his paper would help educate local authorities on public health is­sues so that they, in turn, could educate villagers.

“Development cannot be achiev­ed when people are in poor health and have little knowledge on health issues,” Mr Sophal said. “I think that Community Health News­paper is going to play an important part in providing information to our targeted groups.”

The paper will be printed and distributed by Cambodia News, but it is funded by the Khmer HIV/AIDS NGO Alliance through a grant from USAID, according to Choub Sok Chamreun, KHANA’s director of technical support and best practices.

Because the grant was intended to help KHANA combat HIV/ AIDS on a community level, Mr Sok Chamreun said that Com­munity Health Newspaper would have a strong focus on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.

It “is expected to bring the message and update information on HIV and AIDS and HIV/AIDS-re­lated information to the public, in particular the target audiences, who are commune and sangkat councils throughout Cambodia,” Mr Sok Chamreun wrote in an e-mail on Monday.

The first issue of the paper contains 17 articles on topics such as improper condom use, hygiene in rural areas, open discussion of sexuality among youth, and women’s access to health services.

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