Abbott Fund Program to Improve Children's Health in Cambodia
Malnutrition is a significant contributor of early morbidity and mortality among young children in Cambodia. According to UNICEF, the mortality rate for children under five increased from 115 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 143 in 2005; nearly 45% of all children under five are underweight. Since 2006, Abbott and the Abbott Fund have partnered with Direct Relief International and Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap in an effort to reverse these troubling trends. Abbott and the Abbott Fund have provided more than USD 2.3 million in grants and products to support the work of Angkor Hospital for Children, a pediatric teaching hospital providing free comprehensive care for children in Siem Reap and neighboring provinces. Direct Relief, a global humanitarian assistance organization, manages the distribution of Abbott's grants and product donations. The Abbott Fund is focused on improving health professional and caregiver awareness, knowledge and ability to treat pediatric nutrition through formal training, local and regional educational workshops, cooking demonstrations and donations of essential products. With the Abbott Fund's support, in 2009 Angkor Hospital for Children also sent 117 hospital staff to participate in college-level 'train the trainer' courses to strengthen the overall clinical teaching skills of the hospital's nursing staff. In 2009, the Abbott Fund's grant made it possible for the Angkor Hospital for Children to provide services to more than 124,000 children, all of whom were assessed for malnutrition. Of those assessed, 136 were identified and then treated for severe malnutrition. Additionally, with the Abbott Fund's support, 1,700 families attended cooking classes through AHC and 4,000 families attended nutrition information sessions. In order to sustain what they had learned in the cooking and nutrition classes, AHC provided more than 3,000 families with locally grown food to put what they had learned into practice. Since the partnership began, more than 250,000 children have received nutritional assessments, more than 6,000 families have participated in nutrition information workshops, and more than 400 health professionals have received nutrition training. The program's success has helped Angkor Hospital for Children serve as a role model for hospital nutrition programs in Cambodia.