Cambodia is one of the countries of Southeast Asia on the Indochinese mainland.
Population: 16.49 million (2019)
Capital: Phnom Penh
Language: Khmer (major language)
Government: Constitutional monarchy operated as a parliamentary representative
Currency: Cambodian Riel ($1 U.S Dollar = 4060 Cambodian Riel)
Religion: Buddhism (96%), Islam (2%)
Cambodia has tropical weather and is warm throughout the entire year. There are two major seasons: dry and rainy season. November through May is the dry season, and from June to October is the rainy season. The total land area is estimated at over 18 million hectares, and about 15% of the land is used for agriculture such as rice farming.
Cambodians are predominantly Theravada or Hinayana Buddhist. Buddhism is a national tradition, with a bureaucracy and a written tradition. Religious beliefs have influence on law and policies. Buddhist culture tends to encourage deference to authority and the acceptance of one’s place in the hierarchy of Cambodian society. Cambodia has the most extensive concentration of religious temples in the world, Angkor Wat.
Cambodia ranks in the top ten most welcoming countries for foreign residents, and they tend to have a strong sense of attachment to members of their extended family, close neighbors and friends.
Our goal for the Banyan Tree Clinic is providing equal health system strengthening to existing clinics and building new clinics where needed in rural communities in Cambodia. Our goal is starting with Cambodia and we want to expand to other nations based on need. Everyone’s support is important to improve the public healthcare system in rural communities.
- Chandler, D. P. and Overton, . Leonard C. (2021, March 10). Cambodia. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/place/Cambodia
Different ways you can support Banyan Tree Clinics in making a difference
With so many causes in the world requesting support, it can seem overwhelming. For me, the children of Cambodia have a special place in my heart because of the difficult challenges faced by their parents and grandparents to give them a good life after the devastation of the Khmer Rouge and the Killing Fields.
Thank you for helping Banyan Tree Clinics raise enough money to get wheelchairs and other medical supplies to the clinic in Pursat Province, Cambodia. The staff are very grateful and we are excited to expand how we can help them. In addition to continue accumulate medical supplies, our next fundraiser goal is to provide health assessments and nutritional education to the area through various means.
I am aware of an easy way to support our Banyan Tree Clinics that costs you nothing and fits right in with your regular shopping habits! - Amazonsmile.com
All you need to do is go to AmazonSmile.com and sign up. If you are already an Amazon user, it is no extra charge, so there is no obligation to you. Once signed up, all you need to do when you order is to be sure to go to AmazonSmile to order. When you sign in to AmazonSmile the first time just type in Banyan Tree Clinics as your non-profit organization of choice and a small percentage of the amount of your purchase will be donated to Banyan Tree Clinics. Same products, same prices, just some needed money for the Foundation.
Another way you can support the Banyan Tree Clinics is when your employer asks you in their annual review if you want to give a percentage of your income to a charity when your paycheck is prepared. Sometimes they will match your contribution or contribute a percentage. Banyan Tree Clinics is listed on both CharityNavigator.org and Guidestar (now renamed Candid.org). Please ask your employer to include Banyan Tree Clinics on their list of approved charities for their employees to choose as their charity of choice.
And finally, when you share your passion about the good works of the Banyan Tree Clinics and someone asks how they can make an individual contribution, please direct them to our website, BanyanTreeClinics.org. We are working with Spoon Foundation (SPOON (spoonfoundation.org)) to engage in our next project, a health assessment survey, and are excited to get it done soon so we can start providing nutritional education in different ways to the community we are serving in the Pursat Province. What we learn from this community will help us as we grow and reach out to other community clinics throughout Cambodia, and eventually beyond.
Your continued financial support is appreciated and we will honor your trust in us by giving the clinics what support they advise is the most needed.
An Overview of Cambodia's Healthcare System
Cambodia has made remarkable progress in the 21st century, focusing largely on economic growth. As a result, the overall population is healthier and its healthcare system is growing stronger. Such rapid growth, however, has led to a lack of regulation and an extensive private healthcare sector.
Cambodia's budget for health care nearly doubled from 2007 to 2012 and about 50% of health spending is financed by foreign donors. Government funding accounts for most infrastructure and staffing with revenue supported by user charges. As of 2011, more than half of government expenditures were spent on medications and medical supplies, which is much higher than average. Cambodia does not have mandatory health insurance, and the few insurance companies that do exist target workers who can pay premiums, leaving the poor without monetary assistance.
Cambodian government health services are organized by the Ministry of Health which has 24 Provincial Health Departments in 81 Operational Districts. These districts are distributed according to population. Within each Provincial Health Department is a provincial hospital. Within each Operational District is a Referral Hospital that covers 100,000-200,000 people and delivers secondary care as well as preventative and basic care services. Cambodia has a ratio of 0.7 hospital beds per 1,000 population, indicating a pretty low supply overall. Diagnostic equipment such as MRI machines and CT scanners are extremely limited, especially in areas without consistent access to electricity.
There is a diverse array of healthcare professionals in Cambodia. Two thirds of public healthcare workers also work privately. There are NGO hospitals and charitable hospitals as well as public health facilities and private hospitals. There are also "non-medical health providers" such as traditional birth attendants and healers.
The main issues the Cambodian healthcare system faces today include low quality healthcare services and health inequalities. For instance, in the public sector, the Ministry of Health does an excellent job of promoting preventative care, the private sector is more focused on curative care. In rural areas, private non-medical health care providers make up half of all health care providers. Payments to private providers cost families an overwhelming amount of money, putting poor families at a disadvantage.
Cambodia has done an excellent job of propelling its country forward, reducing poverty and establishing democracy. Now that it has expanded its economy and health care systems, it is time to bolster the infrastructure of the health care system; increase regulations, become more efficient in spending, and expand protections for the poor.
Meet Megan - our first student intern in Cambodia!
Hi everyone! My name is Megan Ruoff and I'm currently spending the summer in Cambodia doing an internship with Banyan Tree Clinics. I'm originally from Portland, but right now I'm doing my undergrad at Swarthmore College, just outside of Philadelphia.
I am interested in a variety of public health issues including nutrition, reproductive health, and sanitation/hygiene, and particularly the ways in which behavioral science can be leveraged to design and implement change in these areas. I love traveling, soccer, warm weather, being outdoors, and meeting new people, so Cambodia has been great for me!
So far I have enjoyed exploring Phnom Penh including visiting the various markets and wats (temples), sampling the street food, and finding people to play soccer with. My favorite foods thus far have been Lort Cha, grilled frog, and waffles. I was recently invited to play with a local team (pictured below) in some games, which has been a lot of fun and also a challenge since my weather app often indicates it feels like 109 degrees when we are playing. I also tried a kickboxing class here which was great fun!
I have also enjoyed meeting with representatives from various NGOs based in Phnom Penh and hearing their insights about the vast progress Cambodia has made on many public health indicators, as well as the most important public health issues still facing Cambodia. Their knowledge will be vital as I continue working on helping to determine how Banyan Tree Clinics might have the greatest positive impact here. Next up I will be headed to Pursat Province to experience a bit of rural Cambodian life.