Mday Reak Reay Kone Reak Reay - a nineteen year old mother in Preah Vihear province

What We Do


Over 5000 women will give birth in the northern Cambodian province of Preah Vihear over the coming year and our goal is a simple one; to see that as many mothers give birth safely and that their newborn children survive the first few precarious weeks of their lives.


A simple concept, but although rapid progress is being made and the Cambodian government has sound policies, a woman in Cambodia is 15 times more likely to die from a pregnancy related cause than one in a developed country - with newborn deaths nearly nine* times higher. The complications that cause deaths are the same throughout the world but the risks are lowest when people have access to good, affordable care from skilled health professionals.

"How to save lives is well known. The difficult part is to get it to happen everywhere, all the time. There are no quick fixes".

Touth Koeun, midwife and founder of MRKR

In Preah Vihear 20 health centres, 16 smaller health posts and one hospital provide health services for the 235,000 people living in one of the country’s largest provinces. Many of the 108 midwives working in these health centres and health posts have limited experience and 40 of them have less than two years’ experience since qualifying.

MRKR is four experienced midwives who provide on the job coaching and mentoring to all of the midwives in the province but especially those who are newly qualified. We stay at health centres and health posts, usually for a week at a time, and are available 24 hours a day during our visits.

We work with and recognise the influential role traditional birth attendants play in rural villages. We train them to support midwives rather than to compete with them because we believe that building and supporting the relationships that grow between them is the most effective way of ensuring village women can safeguard their health and access the services they need.

We work with the Ministry of Health and the health department of the provincial government to meet the in-service training needs of midwives through a range of short courses to reinforce and update their pre-service training. And we encourage effective dialogue between the health system and local authorities to ensure that people can participate effectively in the planning and management of their health services.

Click on the pages on the right to learn more about our work and the impact it is having. You can also read our blog and join the discussion by clicking on Join the Discussion or Connections. And if you would like to help us financially, there is information on the Donate page.

The MRKR Midwives

Touth Koeun
Pa Kunthea
Nuon Chantha
Keo Sorphorn
*Maternal and neonatal mortality figures are from World Health Statistics 2013 and the Cambodian Demographic and Health Survey 2010
Maternal mortality Cambodia 206, High Income Group 14
Neonatal mortality Cambodia 27, High Income Group 3
Connections at
Kouen presenting on a tba training day
Each midwife has a story to tell of how they came to their vocation and Koeun's began in a Khmer Rouge hospital...
Midwife Som Savin cares for Chen and her newborn at the Dom Dek health centre
Chen is recovering from her delivery in the Dom Dek health centre waiting house...
commune councillor, Koeun and a nurse discuss what is still needed at a new health post
Bringing the community and health workers together is at the core of our work. Everyone has their role to play...
A young women is cared for in the Preah Vihear Waiting House
When the community becomes involved help can come from the unlikeliest of places...