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Free Healthcare Makes a Big Difference

With the help of World Vision and StarKids, more families in Cambodia can get medical care.

What if a doctor’s appointment cost a week’s wage? This was the reality for Vandy, a 35-year-old mother of three living in Cambodia’s Battambang province. With poor services in public health centres, her safer option was to use private clinics. “Before, each time I brought my son and daughter to the clinic, I spent at least 100,000 riels [$31 AUD],” says Vandy. Her husband is the family’s sole provider, and works irregularly in construction. On the days he gets work, he earns 20,000 riels, the equivalent of six Australian dollars.

Vandy’s nine-year-old daughter Muni, and her younger brothers Munin and Manu used to get sick easily, but life is better now. With the help of StarKids, World Vision now has programs working to improve services in 23 health centres which service 239 villages and over 350,000 people. “I spend nothing when I bring my children to see doctor in the health centre,” Vandy says with a smile.

“I have learnt that there are three groups of food. They are energy food, building body food and protective food,”

The health centres offer more than free medical care; they are the go-to for life-saving health information. Villagers can learn how to feed their children nourishing food, and get practical advice about caring for babies, before and after birth. “I have learnt that there are three groups of food. They are energy food, building body food and protective food,” says Vandy. Villagers have learned how to plant vegetables and have received chickens which provide food and income. “Sometimes, we don’t need to buy meat at the market. Chicken is food for my children.”