Healthy Women, Healthy Workplace
There are approximately 700,000 garment factory workers in Cambodia, of whom approximately 85% are women. Many of these workers are female migrants in the 18-30 age group with low levels of education, making them particularly vulnerable to exploitation, harassment, and abuse.1 CARE’s research and program experience has shown that almost half of female garment factory workers report being sexually active, but less than a third of these use modern contraception and nearly 20% of this group has had an abortion. Importantly about 30% have given birth, pointing to the importance of addressing maternal and newborn health in addition to sexual and reproductive health.2 Lack of nutrition is cited as a key contributing factor to the “fainting spells” in Cambodian factories.3,4 Nutritional deficiencies (both quality and quantity) are all the more dangerous for pregnant women. In terms of care-seeking, garment factory workers are unlikely to seek care for sexual, maternal or reproductive health services at factory infirmaries. Outside factories, workers are commonly using private clinics, often unlicensed, rather than government clinics, because of issues such as inconvenient working hours, acceptability, and friendliness of services, especially for unmarried women.
Healthy Women, Healthy Workplace focuses on sexual and reproductive health, maternal health, and nutrition, including supply-side approaches that improve services and build the capacity of frontline health workers, as well as demand-side approaches that build the knowledge and self-efficacy of workers to make health decisions. Building on its existing sexual and reproductive health package, CARE is creating a “suite” of behaviour change communication (BCC) materials. In factory infirmaries, CARE will partner with management to upgrade human and physical resources so that more comprehensive SRMH and nutrition care can be provided, along with a functional referral system to outside care. In government facilities surrounding factories, CARE will provide support to pilot the youth-friendly service guidelines so that appropriate, high-quality care is available and accessible.
Improve the Sexual Reproductive, Maternal Health (SRMH) and nutrition status of young, urban factory workers.
1. Improve knowledge, behaviours, and choices of factory workers in relation to SRMH and nutrition.
2. Build the capacity of frontline health workers to increase the responsiveness and effectiveness of the existing health system in addressing the needs of garment factory workers.
3. Influence policy dialogue and priorities surrounding adolescent health through contributing to the development and implementation of effective standards of care within and outside the factories.
Project activities include:
Develop innovative behaviour change communication packages for garment factory workers
Implement and monitor innovative behaviour change communication packages
Assess and strengthen care provision at garment factory infirmaries
Train and build capacity of government health centres/hospitals to deliver youth friendly services
Develop innovative, participatory feedback systems
Support Workplace Infirmary Guidelines
Advocate with factory management, brands, and industry bodies for sexual, reproductive and maternal health and nutrition.
2016 – 2019
15 garment factories in Phnom Penh & Kandal Provinces and six health center.
Garment factory workers, health providers, infirmary staff, factory management
Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (MoLVT)
Ministry of Health and Phnom Penh Municipal Health Department (MHD)