ADB Approves $32.5 Million Financing to Boost Cambodia Border Health Services

Health outreach activities (left) and Cambodian migrant workers (right) at the border gate in Thailand.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (20 October 2022) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $32.5 million in financing to improve access to quality health services in Banteay Meanchey, a border province in northwest Cambodia that serves as a hub for departing and returning migrants, and those seeking employment in the province’s special economic zones.

The Cambodia Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Border Areas Health Project will expand health care coverage for migrant workers who are increasingly neglected by health systems at home and abroad, and for the populations in border areas where migrants pass through and reside. The project will extend a concessional loan of $27 million and a grant of up to $5.5 million to the Government of Cambodia to build and equip health facilities in border areas, extend health-care-related financial protection to migrants, and strengthen systems for the integrated delivery of health services across borders, including introducing a portable electronic health record for migrants.

“Regional cooperation and integration across the Greater Mekong Subregion has fueled economic growth, but also the greater movement of people in search of better jobs and opportunities,” said ADB Senior Social Sector Specialist for Southeast Asia Rikard Elfving. “This has generated a unique set of mobility-linked health challenges, especially for border areas linked to major economic corridors.”

Health systems in border areas are often inadequately equipped to respond to mobility-linked health challenges, as illustrated during the COVID-19 pandemic when more than 260,000 Cambodian migrant workers returned home. The majority re-entered through land borders with Thailand, overwhelming the capacity of border area health systems for COVID-19 case detection, quarantine, and treatment.

GMS countries have collectively agreed on the need to enhance protection of vulnerable communities from the health impacts of regional integration and have prioritized strengthening health systems in border areas. Investment in migrant-inclusive health systems will facilitate the resumption of safe migration that is critical to the subregion’s post-COVID-19 recovery.

The Greater Mekong Subregion Border Areas Health Project will build upon ADB’s experience in supporting communicable disease control programs and will integrate lessons from Cambodia’s response to, and recovery from, the COVID-19 pandemic.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

Disclaimer: This was first posted on the ADB website.

Last Updated: 26 October 2022