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Health Issues in Cambodia and Theories Applied

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Health Issues in Cambodia and Theory Applied

Chinket Tola

Master of Public Policy

Course on Contemporary Political Thoughts

Lectured by Mr. Oum Chanpanhara

Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations (TSS)

The University of Cambodia (UC)

  1. Introduction

After the political reformed in 1993, Cambodia has developed all fields, including health sector. Last decades, health sector in Cambodia has been improved remarkably. However, this improvement makes several problems. These problems are poor health service delivery for the poor, poor quality health care in the rural and remote areas, and insufficient skilled health staffs. Therefore, these such problems shall be addressed, and resolutions shall be applied. To make sure health issues are solved, there are political theories applied. However, which theory is the best choice to applied? In the following sections, both health issues and applicable theory are discussed.

  1. Health Issues

In Cambodia nowadays, there are several health issues need to be addressed. First of all, Cambodia health system faces the problems of health service delivery. Health service delivery in Cambodia is still limited in term of quality, especially the capacity of disease treatment and care in both public and private health care services, does not reach the demand from patients (Kunthea, 2016). Furthermore, most health centres and referral hospitals are located in the centre of the town or in the city far way from rural and remote areas. The technology used in the health centres and hospitals in the countryside is insufficient. Moreover, health service is still poor in rural and remote areas (World Health Organization, 2014). In rural and remote areas, access to health services is very difficult; moreover, information about health does not properly reach those areas (Ministry of Health, 2008). In addition, local health care services are just for curing simple diseases and illness, while serious illness and diseases are only treated in the national hospitals in the city where patients need to spend much money on transportation and accommodation. As a result, they cannot afford their livings after illness is cured, causing the poverty.

Second, financing support is also the main concern that the government shall address. High cost of health services, especially in private health care services, affects the vulnerable people and the poor, which brings those people the poverty (Kunthea, 2016; World Health Organization, 2014). Notably, corruption is the main reason to make poor people difficult to use health services at public health centres and hospitals. Additionally, the budget to support health sector today is adequate; the demand of health care services increases rapidly every year. Therefore, national budget and fund need to be increased in order to ensure the low cost and free health care service.  

Last but not least, in order to make health service delivery more effective, human resource for health needs to addressed. Nowadays, Cambodia’s health system faces the problem of insufficient skilled health staffs. The health training centres and institutions does not provide the applicable skills to health trainees. This is because of lacking sufficient skilled health trainers in both public and private health training centres and institutions (Ministry of Health, 2008). Some health staffs come to work with insufficient skill; this is serious concern for the poor. Moreover, there are still many unlicensed and unregistered health care service delivers  in the community, although the Ministry of Health promised to eliminate these (Kunthea, 2016; World Health Organization, 2014).  

  1. Theory Applied

To solve the above mentioned issues, the equal opportunity and difference theory of John Rawls are applicable. Based on equality of opportunity theory applied in healthcare sector, everyone needs to be equal to access to healthcare services. This means that the government shall provide the same standard of healthcare services to serve people even though they are living in the rural/remote areas or in the city/urban areas. With this theory, the government not only provide the high standard healthcare services in the city/urban areas but also needs to do this in the rural/remote areas. Therefore, the government needs to reconsider the policy to help improve the healthcare centres and hospitals in the rural/remote areas. Quality health care shall be equal to the ones in the urban and city. This means that health staffs, both public and private, shall be capable and skilful with their profession. This practice will help government to ensure the equal opportunity to access to healthcare services.

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