Situation in Brief

In collaboration with local and international partners, Cambodia’s Ministry of Health has made good progress to prevent blindness, reducing prevalence from 1.2% in 1995 to 0.38% in 2007. The National Program for Eye Health (NPEH) was established by the Ministry in 1994. The program receives support from many international groups, and coordinating inputs is complex.

The National Strategic Plan for Blindness Prevention and Control (2011-2015) was formally adopted in 2012 and a new plan is being drafted for 2016-2020. Eye care is included in the nation’s health strategic plan, and is included within the NCD program. Human resource development, financing, resource mobilisation, training and infrastructure development remain priorities for the future. A new plan is being drafted and is aligned to the country’s 3rd Health Strategic Plan (HSP3). Consultations are anticipated soon, with approval expected in 2017.

Cambodia is often commended for efforts to develop demand-side financing schemes targeting the poor, and district-based Health Equity Funds (HEF) now cover almost 80% of the poor population and provide subsidies for public health services. Eye health is integrated into the minimum package of activities at health centre level and the Complementary Packages of Activity at referral hospital level. However, only 21 of the 80 referral hospitals offer services for eye health.

National treatment guidelines have been developed. An Eye Health Systems Assessment was conducted in 2013 with support from WHO and Australian Aid. Rigorous studies of trachoma in 2014 and 2015 concluded that the prevalence of the infectious eye disease, trachoma, was below agreed thresholds and that trachoma is not a public health problem in Cambodia.

Country Statistics

Indicator Value
Population: 14,865,000
Human development index value: 0.584
National Prevention of Blindness Committee active: Yes
National Eye Health Plan Developed: Yes
Cataract surgical rate: 1751
Number of ophthalmologists: 38
Blindness prevalence: 0.38%
Main causes of blindness: Cataract, corneal scarring, trauma, glaucoma, refractive error
Total expenditure on health as percentage of total government expenditure: 6.2
Diabetes prevalence: 2.5%
Improved drinking water coverage: 71
Improved sanitation coverage: 37
Endemic areas for trachoma: Surveys currently underway. All so far indicate a very low prevalence of blinding trachoma.