MEDiCAM is the non-profit and non-partisan membership organisation for NGOs active in Cambodia’s health sector. In terms of membership and role, MEDiCAM is one of the biggest umbrella organisations in the country. Every year, we gather approximately 110-115 members from both international and local NGOs, with UN and bilateral agencies joining at Associate Members level, and individuals at Observer level.
MEDiCAM was created in July 1989, while the country was still suffering an economic embargo and diplomatic isolation from western nations. A group of NGOs active in the health sector started to gather and exchange information, eventually adopting the name MEDiCAM (MEDical+CAMbodia). Thanks to the energy and good will of several NGO pioneers, the association slowly took shape: a General Assembly of members convened and adopted a Charter, a Steering Committee was elected, etc. In 1991 the Ministry of Health of the then-State of Cambodia’s government formally recognised MEDiCAM as the umbrella organisation officially representing the NGOs active in Cambodia’s health sector. As such, MEDiCAM representatives have been invited to almost all official meetings related to health in the country. This has provided a golden opportunity for NGOs to actively contribute to both the policymaking and the implementation of the Health Sector Reform, engaged in by the government since 1996.
Before 1996, the association was run by a handful of energetic NGO leaders who volunteered their time – even though most were still responsible for large programs in their own respective NGOs. Upon request from the General Assembly in June 1996, the Steering Committee raised sufficient funds (from ICCO, MSFHolland/ Amsterdam, Pact and WHO) to achieve the institutionalisation of MEDiCAM.
Since its inception, MEDiCAM had been under expatriate direction. But in September 2003 the important change to local leadership was made. The entire transformation was completed in April 2004, when the Ministry of Interior gave MEDiCAM its status as local NGO representing NGOs active in the health sector in Cambodia.
With new direction, new members, and continued challenges, it is an exciting time to be a part of MEDiCAM.
Improved health status in Cambodia by building bridges between civil society and the Royal Government of Cambodia through enhancing evidence-based policy development and program designs.
MEDiCAM is the primary networking agency for the country’s health-related NGOs. It seeks to link all health sector stakeholders by representing the voice of its NGO members, facilitating policy, advocacy, building capacity of MEDiCAM’s members and health partners, and sharing relevant quality information.
- MEDiCAM exchanges information with all health partners and the Royal Government of Cambodia through:
- MEDiCAM Membership Monthly Meeting (4Ms): Health NGOs usually meet on the third Friday of each month, presenting topics of interest about their research findings, successful pilot project implementation, best practice, program monitoring and evaluation report, etc.
- MEDiNEWS: A monthly newsletter covering a wide agenda of health sector topics, including agency news, donor news, advocacy, health news, MEDiCAM’s regional network information, new health related documents available in our library, MEDiCAM organisation news, and general announcements, advertisements, and employment opportunities. Now available in a bilingual format of both Khmer and English, it is widely distributed among NGO members, bilateral/multilateral agencies, and key officials at the Ministry of Health.
- MEDiCAM Website/Database: Another important service for information sharing is our database and website. Currently, MEDiCAM has a database addressing “NGO’s doing what and where” as well as local health experts in those organisations.
- To facilitate advocacy: In order to capitalise on the collective field experience of its Full Members, MEDiCAM has formulated positions in its Member Community for the development of Cambodia’s health system, and the advocacy of that position with the Royal Cambodian Government, International Organisations and Bilateral Agencies. For these important activities, MEDiCAM has established Working Groups in specific areas (e.g. a Reproductive Health Working Group and NGO-Child Survival Working Group)
- Capacity Building for MEDiCAM Members: MEDiCAM builds capacity for local NGOs and its partners through the Building Management Capacity for Cambodian NGOs (BMCC) Project and the Provincial Network Capacity Building (PNCB) Project. The BMCC Project addresses NGOs needs in terms of strategic planning, program design, proposal and report writing, monitoring and evaluation, human resource management and financial management. The PNCB Project widens access to MEDiCAM’s services in regional areas through monthly meetings of local NGOs, libraries, information exchange and advocacy. It also provides training according to the needs of our NGO members such as primary health care, HIV/AIDS counselling, monitoring and evaluation, and more.
- Representing the NGO Community: MEDiCAM’s Executive Director and Health Information Officers are the officials who represent the NGO community in most significant health-related meetings. MEDiCAM is involved in the Consultative Group (CG) Meeting, Joint Annual Performance Review (JAPR), Health Congress, COCOM Meeting, the Country Coordination Committee for the GFATM, and many working groups of the Ministry of Health. In addition, every year MEDiCAM prepares a position paper to be presented to the Consultative Group Meeting and all key stakeholders and donors. The position paper covers the perspectives of the NGO community regarding remarkable achievements during the year, notable challenges and feasible recommendations for improving health sector development in Cambodia.