PREAH VIHEAR, Cambodia – “I still remember when my neighbour experienced complications during delivery. She passed away on the way to the referral hospital. It was terrifying,” 16-year-old Kem Lean told UNFPA in the northern Cambodian province of Preah Vihear. “Now that I’m pregnant myself, I keep thinking that I don’t want that to happen to me.”
Still, Kem Lean had not yet sought antenatal care for her pregnancy – she did not know it was important. She was also unaware that pregnancy so early in life could pose risks to her health and to the long-term welfare of her child.
She is not alone. Lack of knowledge about sexual and reproductive health is common in remote communities like Svay Village, where Kem Lean lives. This leads to poorer maternal health, less use of family planning and higher rates of adolescent pregnancy.