Initial work addressing a broad range of challenges and obstacles facing the restoration of health and social care systems, as well as the links between education, nutrition, safe water and sanitation and the prevention of ill health, is coming to an end with the completion of three major projects. The first to conclude was the six-year DFID-funded project Research for Building Pro-poor Health Systems during Recovery from Conflict (ReBUILD), which comprises three subprojects. Of these, one examines the impact of pro-poor health financing strategies on access to and utilisation of health services, the second evaluates incentives for health worker retention and performance and the challenges faced by health staff in rural and remote areas, and the third assesses health service contracting arrangements. Reports for all three studies were distributed at a national dissemination workshop in September and are now being prepared for publication in peer-reviewed journals. A unique aspect of ReBUILD was a strong emphasis on building local capacity for health research, with local partners in the five-country consortium taking ownership and leadership.

Research on Obstetric Referral in the Cambodian Health System, a joint project with the Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development and the University of Leeds, concluded with a dissemination workshop held at CDRI in December. The study findings provide unique insight into the use and provision of maternity services across the country.

Another major focus of our work has been on child labour and child poverty. Eliminating eXploitative Child Labour through Education and Livelihoods (EXCEL), a four-year partnership with World Vision, Wathnakpheap, Farmer Livelihood Development and Vulnerable Children Assistance Organization, aimed at identifying at-risk children employed in sectors diverse as fishing, agriculture and domestic work. Reports for the subprojects on Domestic Child Labour, the Impact of Adult Migration on Children’s Well-being, and Landlessness and Child Labour have been synthesised with a comprehensive literature review and consolidated under a fourth subproject on Child Labour Research. The findings of this final project report were shared at a dissemination workshop in January 2016.

Also completed are two draft reports for Opinion Leader Research (OLR) on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) and a Verification of Sanitation Outcomes to assess the impact of improved rural sanitation.

Our work in 2016 and beyond will continue to support health services performance monitoring and health improvement activities, in line with the government’s implementation of its Health Strategic Plan 2016-20. By focusing on new ideas about medical professionalism, we aim to influence change in medical competency, practitioners’ conduct, ethics and patient welfare. This will be achieved through coordinated and collaborative research and educational outreach activities in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the National Institute of Public Health and the University of Health Sciences.

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