Providing Rural Communities Equal Care through Commercial Transport (PROTECT) Project
In 2011, with a $250,000, 2-year seed grant from USAID, Partners for Development (PfD) implemented its “Providing Rural Communities Equal Care through Commercial Transport” (PROTECT) initiative in Kratie province. PROTECT was funded and implemented as part of USAID’s Saving Lives at Birth partnership to test an innovative approach to overcoming transportation barriers to maternal and newborn services in rural Cambodia.
The PROTECT project aimed to develop a replicable and financially sustainable model to ensure access to ante/postnatal care, and delivery and emergency obstetric care in remote, rural villages of Kratie province, in northeastern Cambodia. With local government guidance and management, PfD tested a model designed to leverage the strong local demand for reliable motor transportation to benefit the area’s pregnant women and new mothers. In addition to ensuring low trip costs, PfD negotiated 24-hour emergency transport service for these women by establishing fixed rates for emergency transport, guaranteeing the availability of transport providers, and creating a revolving village loan fund to provide immediate micro-credit to pay for the emergency travel.
In the 13 month period August 2012 – August 2013, a total of 584 emergency loans were made out of the VLF in the 25 villages. 248 of these (42.5%) were for maternal/newborn care.The remaining 336 loans (57.5%) were for other illnesses or accidents, particularly malaria or diarrheal diseases.
Between September 2011 and September 2013, PfD implemented PROTECT in all villages within two Health Center catchment areas, Prek Prasob and Kanchor, with an estimated combined population of 33,115. The members of each area’s villages are subject to the annual floods that make travel by road arduous and hazardous during monsoon season every year. PfD purchased seven remorque motorbike taxis and two stronger koyun tractor-esque taxis to navigate the steep and muddy hills surrounding Prek Prasob and Kanchor’s villages, and established contracts with the local Commune Councils to ensure their continued functioning in each community.