Cambodian woman dies in childbirth owing to HIV status

October 26, 2010

Posted by The KC team

The Alliance hosts a citizen journalism programme called Key Correspondents (KCs).

Writes Key Correspondent, No Migy.

In Kampgong Som Province, Cambodia, 35 year old Ms Sin Thea died in childbirth because of her HIV status, according to local news services.

Sin Thea was a member of a home based care program, run by the Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia (RHAC) and she also received support from the equity fund. She died in hospital after she spent nine hours waiting for intervention from medical staff.

Her husband, Kong Vuth, said: “I referred my wife to the hospital at 9pm on October 14, 2010, but no doctor or nurse took my wife into their care.”

Sin Thea died on October 15, 2010, at around 7am.

“The doctor ordered me to pay a childbirth fee of 80000 Riels (approx US$20), but I had already paid it” Kong Vuth added.

He said that when his wife asked for an operation, the doctor told them there as ‘no specialist doctor to do the operation’.

“Why didn’t the doctor save my wife, considering others were saved by these doctors?” asked Kong Vuth.

According to Health News, Sin Thea died because she had a heart attack. She had high blood pressure which called for bloodletting.

Cambodia is one of more than 180 countries which signed the Millennium Development Goals declaration, and recently, Cambodia achieved Millennium Development Goal 6b, to provide universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it.

Cambodia has also committed to reducing the amount of discrimination and to improving maternal health. According to the 2002 Law on the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS: ‘Discrimination against a person with HIV/AIDS in the hospitals and health institutions is strictly prohibited.

‘No person shall be denied to receive public and private health care services or be charged with higher fee on the basis of the actual, perceived or suspected HIV/AIDS status of the person or his/her family members.’

Many poor people receive the equity fund, they report that doctors are often careless when people show their equity cards, commonly referred to as ‘poverty cards’.

One community member said: “When I showed my poverty card, the doctor did not want to treat me. So the next time, I did not show them my card.”

Not only did Sin Thea die in childbirth after being refused care, but other women have also died because of money and discrimination.

Leadership, transparency, accountability, morality and building capacity are needed in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and to prevent women from being refused care and dying in childbirth.

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