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The Population Council Opens Cambodia Office, Ashish Bajracharya Appointed as Country Representative

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA (December 19) — The Population Council announced the opening of its Cambodia office in Phnom Penh. Dr. Ashish Bajracharya, associate in the Population Council’s reproductive health program will lead the office. 

The Population Council has been helping to improve access to quality, affordable health services for people living in Cambodia since 2000 and formally opened an office in Phnom Penh in December 2016.  Much of the Council’s work in Cambodia has focused on improving sexual, reproductive and maternal health care and family planning services for poor and vulnerable women. The Council’s current work focuses on improving the health and wellbeing of women working in Cambodia’s garment industry, who represent a significant proportion of the country’s female labor force, and a substantial segment of the population of young women of reproductive age.

“For more than 15 years, the Population Council has conducted research, evaluated programs, and facilitated policies that improve the health and well-being of some of Cambodia’s most vulnerable populations,” said Julia Bunting, president of the Population Council. “This office represents our commitment to deepening those efforts. We are delighted to work closely with country officials and partners to conduct research and deliver solutions that improve outcomes for Cambodians.”

More than 800,000 Cambodians are employed in the export garment sector—85 percent are women, many of whom are young, and who lack knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and access to resources to help them plan their families. In partnership with Meridian Group International, the Council leads the WorkerHealth project, an initiative to improve reproductive health and family planning outcomes for female workers through improved factory and infirmary practices, access to and quality of community health services, and government and industry policies. The project, co-implemented with Marie Stopes International, is supported by USAID Cambodia under the Council’s global Evidence Project, a multi-country implementation science project to strengthen family planning policies, programs, and practices.

“The establishment of the Population Council’s Cambodia office comes at the right time. With the growth of the garment industry comes new opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing of women working in this sector”, said Dr. Bajracharya. “Our work in Cambodia will better inform government policy and outreach campaigns and generate evidence on more effective strategies to deliver quality family planning and reproductive health services.”

The Council has made notable contributions to Cambodia since beginning its work in-country in 2000. Between 2010 and 2014, the Council helped generate evidence on the Cambodian Ministry of Health’s Reproductive Health Voucher Program, demonstrating that the program significantly increased the uptake of long-acting reversible contraceptive methods. The Council also evaluated the pilot of the Integrated Social Health Protection Scheme, a program supported by GIZ Cambodia, which integrated Health Equity Funds and the voluntary payment of micro-health insurance to improve access to healthcare for the poor. The uptake of services in the public sector reduced health expenditures, and improved operational and financial efficiency of the delivery of health services. In 2004, the Council conducted the first comprehensive examination of the lives of older people in the country, assessing the social, economic, and health status of Cambodia’s elderly.

About the Population Council

The Population Council confronts critical health and development issues—from stopping the spread of HIV to improving reproductive health and ensuring that young people lead full and productive lives. Through biomedical, social science, and public health research in 50 countries, we work with our partners to deliver solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world. Established in 1952 and headquartered in New York, the Council is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization governed by an international board of trustees.

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