10 months after the official launch, Mercy Relief (MR) saw the completion of its‘Healthy Community’ Programme in Baray District, of Cambodia’s Kampong Thom province.  The Singapore-born-and-bred humanitarian NGO was part of a multi-agency collaboration including the Cambodian Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), the departments of health and education, and the provincial and district governments.

Dr Kevin Chan, director of the MR Board, together with the Under-Secretary of State for MRD, Hap Omaly,  were in Kampong Thom to grace the programme’s completion which took place at the Kumrou Primary School (KPS), Baray District.  The SGD180,000 ‘Healthy Community’ (HC) Programme comprised two complementing components  – the refurbishment and expansion of a referral district hospital and, the introduction of new hardware and software to support the Water and Sanitation for Hygiene (WASH) programme at KPS.

The HC Programme aims to sow the seeds for better healthcare service, hygiene standards and healthier living for the communities of Baray and Santouk districts, which have a joint population of more than 46,000 families.


(from left) : The original Baray-Santouk Referral Hospital required repairs, refurbishment and an extended water supply network / Wards were Spartan-like and not conducive for patients’ recuperation / Newborns were placed on hard surfaces while food covers were used to ward off insects

The improvements to the Baray-Santouk Referral Hospital, through the refurbishment of the structural facilities and provision of new medical equipment, with greater focus on the maternity and emergency wards, seek to encourage expecting mothers to monitor their foetal development throughout the different stages of their pregnancies, and if need be, seek necessary and early medical attention, for themselves and their newborns.  Trainings were also provided for the healthcare staff to increase their skills and knowledge to provide better and holistic care, especially in the area of maternal and child healthcare.

In his address to the community at the completion ceremony, Dr Kevin Chan said, “This shared vision and joint endeavour to provide better access to quality healthcare, clean water, together with proper sanitation facilities and hygiene practices are essential to enhance the well-being, development and sustainability of the communities.”


(from left) : The newly-refurbished hospital / H.E. Omaly Hap meeting with patients who now have adjustable stainless steel beds with water-resistant mattresses / The spanking new maternity ward included baby cots / Better equipped delivery suite The WASH programme implemented at the Kumrou Primary School included new toilets, an extended water supply system, separate hand-washing facilities and an hygiene awareness curriculum. 

The WASH programme implemented at the Kumrou Primary School included new toilets, an extended water supply system, separate hand-washing facilities and an hygiene awareness curriculum.

Dr Chan added, “Schools are good and natural platforms to inculcate the importance of good health and hygiene into the young.  Children can be the agents of change towards a healthier and brighter future.  These facilities and training not only serve to provide immediate improvement to schooling conditions for the students and teachers, but they are also the means to establishing a stronger culture of hygiene for sustained development – for the children, their families and their future.”



(from top left, clockwise) :

MR Director Dr Kevin Chan encouraging students and commune folks to maintain the newfound culture and facilities / Senior students demonstrating proper handwashing to their junior peers / With easier access to clean water through a new supply source, children now carry personal water bottles for hydration and hygiene / Open-defecation is a thing of the past with the newly-erected toilets / Students embraced the handwashing culture well for a pinker and safer future /  H.E Hap Omaly, Baray district governor Hak Mao Seng and MR Director Dr Chan leading by example by having their hands cleaned at the official opening of the new handwashing facilities.

Before declaring the official opening of the various facilities, His Excellency Hap Omaly shared, “Clean water and good hygiene practices help improve communities’ health conditions, which in turn allow for economic savings from medical costs.  This cooperation with Mercy Relief on the HC programme is in line with our national effort to achieve by 2025, where all the people in the rural areas of Cambodia shall have access to clean water supply, practise good hygiene and live in good environment.  On behalf of the Government of Cambodia, I would like to thank Mercy Relief and its donors for their support and cooperation.

MR and its existing Cambodian partners will be replicating the HC programme at the other districts of Kampong Thom Province. In addition, a new vocational training programme will also be implemented by MR, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth (MOSAVY), after the successful discussion with Minister Ith Sam Heng of MOSAVY yesterday.

Moving forward with MOSAVY – The MR team met with Minister Ith Sam Heng to discuss on the collaboration for the vocational training programme.

About Mercy Relief

Mercy Relief is a Singaporean humanitarian organisation which engages in both disaster relief and sustainable development programmes. It was established in 2003 as an independent non-governmental humanitarian charity responding to the human tragedies in Asia. Mercy Relief’s aid programme focuses on providing timely and effective assistance to disaster-stricken communities and has maintained the delivery of emergency aid within 72 hours from the point of appeal for assistance.  

In the past 12 years, Mercy Relief has disbursed over S$32 million in aid across 40 disaster relief and 53 sustainable development initiatives. Mercy Relief has impacted an aggregate of 2 million lives in 24 countries and areas, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal,  Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen.

For more information, you may call us at 6514 6322 or email corporateaffairs@mercyrelief.org

Share this article!