Promoting early antenatal care (ANC) is one of the Ministry of Health’s priorities to reduce maternal and child mortality in Cambodia. A survey conducted in November 2008 reveals that only 7.1% of women seeking antenatal care at the health centre within the first month of missing their period. According to the Cambodian Demographic and Health Survey (CDHS) 2005, maternal mortality is still high – 472 per 100000 live births. So is mortality of children under one year old, which accounts for 66 per 1000 live births. Through proper antenatal care, it is expected that women will receive key basic health services that could be vital to their well-being and that of their babies. The key basic health services include iron-folate supplementation to prevent mothers from anaemia and their babies from malformation of the central nervous system, which is only effective during the early stage of gestation especially in the first quarter of pregnancy. It also includes immunization against tetanus and health education on other health issues and health care relevant to pregnant women. The services and information provided through antenatal care visits are essential and can contribute to the reduction of both maternal and infant mortality.
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