CAMBODIA / HEALTH

13-Jun-2005
In Svay Rieng, one of Cambodia's poorest provinces, a trip to the hospital could put a poor family into lifelong debt. Many people have no money to pay for transportation and treatment -- facing a tough choice between borrowing money, going into debt ,or missing treatment altogether. UNICEF
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STORY: CAMBODIA / HEALTH

TRT: 2.55

SOURCE: UNICEF

RESTRICTIONS: NONE

LANGUAGE: CH 1 KHMER / ENGLISH / NATS
CH 2 KHMER / ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 8-9 OCTOBER 2004, SVAY RIENG, CAMBODIA
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, Svay Rieng Provincial Hospital.
2. Med shot, ambulance arriving with old man on stretcher.
3. Wide shot, old man being carried on stretcher into hospital.
4. Med shot, of doctor checking a female patient with her husband by her side.
5. Tilt up, from the patient to the doctor.
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Thor Rasoka, UNICEF Cambodia:
"Before, without the equity fund, the poor people just don't come to hospital. When they are sick, they try to find traditional healers, they try to borrow money to buy drugs in the market. And most of the time, they just stay home and put themselves in danger of dying."
7. Med shot, patients in bed
8. Close up, little girl
9. Med shot, girl standing by her sick mother's bed side
10. Med shot, doctor looking at chart and checking Chea Samoeun's two children
11. Med shot, Chea Samoeun with her son in bed
12. Med shot, doctor checking Chea Samoeun's daughter in bed
13. Close up, Chea Samoeun's daughter's chest being examined
14. Med shot, Chea Samoeun with her son sitting on her lap
15. Close up, Chea Samoeun's son
16. Med shot, a village boy walking home
17. Closeup, boy looking into the camera and smiling
18. Med shot, woman standing outside her home
19. Med shot, health worker for the Equity Fund Scheme visiting a home
20. Close up, woman
21. Med shot, health worker verifying information given by the poor family as he explains the Equity Fund Scheme process
22. Close up, family's certificate
23. Med shot, health worker taking a photo for their certificate
24. Med shot, family posing for the camera
25. Close up, two children
26. Close up, water being pumped from a hand water pump
27. Med shot, Chea Samoeun pumping water
28. Close up, tin bucket full of water
29. SOUNDBITE (Khmer) Chea Samoeun:
"The equity fund has really helped us because we are poor. Two of my children are sick and if they hadn't paid for us I don't know what would have happened. We had nowhere else to turn."
30. Med shot, Chea Samoeun cooking food and making fire
31. Med shot, Chea Samoeun breastfeeding her youngest
STORYLINE
An emergency like this at Cambodia's Svay Rieng hospital once created not only a traumatic experience for patients and their families but very often led to financial disaster.

Many people had no money to pay for transportation and treatment -- facing a tough choice between going into debt or missing treatment altogether. Recovering from the economic impact of an unexpected trip to the hospital could go on for years.

Now, thanks to a UNICEF-supported programme called the "equity fund," about 25 thousand of the poorest families in Svay Rieng province are assured of free or subsidized healthcare.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Thor Rasoka, UNICEF Cambodia:
"Before, without the equity fund, the poor people just don't come to hospital. When they are sick, they try to find traditional healers, they try to borrow money to buy drugs in the market. And most of the time, they just stay home and put themselves in danger of dying."

For Chea Samoeun, the equity fund is a lifeline. Two of her three children came down with life-threatening illnesses at the same time: her four-year-old daughter with typhoid and her eight-month old son with pneumonia. Because she has no income and qualifies for the programme, her children's treatment and 10-day stay will be paid for by UNICEF.

Svay Rieng is one of Cambodia's poorest provinces. With an annual investment of 30 thousand US dollars, UNICEF is helping provide 25 percent of the population access to medical care.

Local volunteers identify the worst-off families based on objective criteria. Those who don't have a job or land and have several children to feed may be considered eligible for the programme.

Provincial healthcare workers interview the families, and verify the information. Those who qualify are photographed and issued a certificate entitling them to free or 50-percent free healthcare, depending on their circumstances.

Now back at home with her children, Chea Samoeun can concentrate on feeding her family, not on paying off loans.

SOUNDBITE (Khmer) Chea Samoeun:
"The equity fund has really helped us because we are poor. Two of my children are sick and if they hadn't paid for us I don't know what would have happened. We had nowhere else to turn."

The programme also gives her emotional security... in that a future trip to the hospital won't send her already fragile financial situation crashing down.
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