- Vitamin A deficiency is a significant public health problem in Cambodia.
- Alarmingly high rates of anemia were found among preschool-aged children in rural Cambodia; prevalence was highest among children less than 24 months of age (nearly 70%).
- The impact of HIV/AIDS on Cambodia is considerable: the United Nations Development Program estimates that 12,000 children under the age of 15 live with the disease and as many as 55,000 have lost one or both parents to it.
What HKI Is Doing
Helen Keller International's Asia Regional Office is located in Phnom Penh. HKI began work in Cambodia in 1992 to assess the extent of vitamin A deficiency (VAD). Current programs include:
- Nutritional Surveillance Read more
- Vitamin A Supplementation Read more
- In-Home Food Fortification/Sprinkles Read more
- Homestead Food Production Read more
- Nutritional Support for People Living with HIV/AIDS Read more
- School Health Program for Soil-transmitted Helminths Read more
HKI has completed Nutrition Surveillance Reports in Cambodia, including a report on Nutrition Sector Activities and a Cambodia National Micronutrient Survey. These findings were presented at a Micronutrient Workshop, hosted by by HKI in Phnom Penh in 2001.
Vitamin A Supplementation
Helen Keller International works closely with the Ministry of Health’s National Nutrition Program to deliver vitamin A capsules in three operational districts in Kampong Chhnang province where coverage is particularly low and no other organizations are working. The May 2009 vitamin A supplementation campaign reached more that 60,000 children (88% of the target population).
In-Home Food Fortification/Sprinkles
HKI is working in one province to provide Sprinkles in collaboration with a technical working group that includes the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, WHO and other nutrition agencies. HKI works with the local health centers to distribute Sprinkles to mothers, and trains them in best practices and the advantages of adding Sprinkles to their home-cooked meals.
Homestead Food Production
Helen Keller International partners with local organizations and the International Food Policy Research Institute to offer its Homestead Food Production (HFP) program in communities suffering from food insecurity and malnutrition. In the Ratanakiri, Battambang, Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Speu provinces, HKI helps more than 3,000 families develop local food production systems, including gardens with micronutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. In Cambodia, HKI is piloting a project to incorporate pisciculture with HFP. Families are raising small nutrient-rich fish for their families’consumption in the same ponds as large fish, which can be sold for income. The Homestead Food Production program also empowers women, who make up the majority of the famers, and provides families with a source of additional income through the sale of surplus foods.
Nutritional Support for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA)
In 2006, HKI began to tailor its successful Homestead Food Production (HFP) programs to meet the special nutritional needs of people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases. Homestead Food Production gardens feature plants that are relatively easy to maintain and don't require hard physical labor, which is critical for people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition, surplus food can be sold for additional household income, which is a critical support for many people living with HIV/AIDS who may not be working otherwise. This program has been scaled up in Battambang and Kampong Chhnang provinces as well.
School Health Program for Soil-transmitted Helminths
Since school children have the highest infection rates from Soil-transmitted Helminths (worms), HKI works closely with the Ministry of Education’s School Health Department to develop a school curriculum to teach students about them.