Community Engagement in Health Center Development

Health centers are the lowest level of health care systems in Cambodia. A health center covers an average of 10,000 people, a number of villages, covers one or two or three communes, and so on. Health centers have a lot of work, including technical work, management, and relations with people from all walks of life. However some major achievements can only be made with everyone’s hard work and efforts. For example, Chrey health center, located on national road 5, Hai San village, Chrey commune, Thmor Koul district, Battambang Province, has built a fence around it with the participation of the community.

The National Center for Health Promotion as the chief of staff of the Ministry of Health has developed the guidelines for implementing the national primary health care policy, which outlines two mechanisms for community participation: the health center management committee (HCMC) and the village health support group (VHSG).

Health centers provide primary health care services including primary preventive and curative care services. In addition, (1) health centers must maintain good relations with relevant departments, local authorities and people from all walks of life under their catchment areas in order to facilitate the provision of services, (2) health centers must work to manage, handle, lead, and inspire people physically, mentally, intellectually, spiritually to use, maintain, and repair their health centers.

For example, Chrey health Center has managed to successfully overcome every barrier in the past one year to complete the construction of a concrete fence consisting of 80 pieces with a cost of more than USD10,000.00. This success reflects how powerful, influential, and strong community engagement was in their HCMC. They tried hard to think and solicit engagement and to do more and more by mobilizing resources involving their own health center staff, commune councils, other local actors, citizens and traders, both in and outside their area.

In conclusion, everything can be achieved with engagement, consensus and perseverance by putting all barriers behind and constantly looking forward to the goal, only this will their own institutional successes and values prevail.


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