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In 1975, after years of civil war, Cambodia suffered a devastating blow to its development as 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 the 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 the region.

Deadly traffic

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

One of the deadliest parts of a crash happen 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 rural clinics.

Medical Teams International, Cambodia, safe motherhood

Did you know?

  • Over 1/3 of the population lives on less than $1 a day
  • More than 30% of Cambodians are under the age of 18

One $100 anti-shock garment can save hundreds of mothers during childbirth

Maternal mortality

Maternal mortality is high in Cambodia at 206 per 100,000 women dying during birth and 45 out of 1000 newborns dying. Pregnant women in Cambodia face serious transportation barriers from the 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 Responder programs 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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Every gift makes a difference:

$100 will purchase one non-pneumatic anti-shock garment, which can prevent mothers from bleeding out during difficult pregnancies

$500 provides training for one health center in the use of anti-shock garments

$510​ trains a health care worker on the basics of EMT


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