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In 1975, after years of civil war, Cambodia suffered another devastating blow the Khmer Rouge took control of Phnom Penh. Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's vision for a Cambodia centered on a return to an agrarian communist society-- killing millions of intellectuals, businessmen, doctors, Buddhist leaders, and foreigners and destroying infrastructure.

It is estimated that 1.5 to 2 million people--25% of the population--were killed during this time. The Khmer Rouge did not stop killing Cambodians until 1998, when Pol Pot died.

The country has struggled to recover from this period of immense destruction. Emergency services are few and inconsistent, making the growing number of vehicle accidents extremely deadly. Mothers and children suffer from inadequate emergency and preventative obstetric care.

Strained resources

Over 75% of Cambodia's population lives in rural communities characterized by malnutrition and limited access to health services. Rapid urbanization has caused stress on financial resources in an economy where it is estimated external donors supply about half the nation's budget.

Today, Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in Asia.

Deadly traffic

In Cambodia, traffic has taken a deadly turn as roads develop faster than hospitals. Over 8 years, the number of crash fatalities have doubled--every day, 5 people are killed, and 15 are seriously injured.

One of the deadliest parts of a crash happens after impact; if no ambulance arrives or EMTs are inadequately trained, it may be hours before a victim reaches the hospital. In many rural areas, dirt roads are bumpy, slippery, and filled with pot holes. Ambulances are rarely available to serve rural clinics.

Medical Teams International, Cambodia, safe motherhood

Maternal mortality

Maternal mortality is high in Cambodia with 206 of every 100,000 women dying during birth and 45 out of 1000 newborns dying. Pregnant women in Cambodia face serious transportation barriers from their home to health center or hospital. 

Anti-shock garments treat post-partum hemorrhaging at health centers. The low-cost garments stabilize blood pressure and enable transport to a hospital where the patient can receive intensive therapies.

Medical Teams International's Impact

Medical Teams International is advancing existing community-based First Responders to be properly trained & equipped for traffic and obstetric emergencies. We are also providing life-saving anti-shock garments for mothers facing deadly birth complications.

Medical Teams International has a strong relationship with the Ministry of Health in Cambodia, which allows us to extend EMS services to a growing number of provinces.

In spite of dangerous birth complications, this mother's life was saved thanks to an anti-shock garment.

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