Meeting the Family Planning and Reproductive Health Needs of Female Factory Workers in Cambodia

Of the estimated 700,000 individuals currently employed in Cambodia’s garment industry, the majority are young women who migrate from rural areas of the country seeking economic opportunity in urban areas. These female garment workers represent a significant proportion of the country’s labor force, as well as a substantial segment of the population of young women of reproductive age. For those women who successfully find jobs in a garment factory, the resulting low wages, long hours, and difficult conditions can limit the time and/or resources available to maintain their health. In addition to inadequate knowledge of important aspects of sexual and reproductive health, these workers struggle to access quality, affordable, and flexible health services.

In response, the Evidence Project is working with Marie Stopes International’s SIFPO 2 project to design and test a garment factory worker program to address the reproductive health/family planning needs of this vulnerable population. The program – WorkerHealth – seeks to:

  • Improve the regulatory environment and government and industry policies related to workplace health (Evidence Project);
  • Increase workers’ access to and utilization of affordable, quality health care (SIFPO/MSI);
  • Ensure the sustainability of improved access through buy-in from the private sector, government, and service providers (SIFPO/MSI and Evidence Project);
  • Produce evidence for industry, NGO, and government stakeholders of the effectiveness of worker health interventions to guide program development and scale up (Evidence Project).

WorkerHealth engages all sectors – brands, factories, labor, government, donors and NGOs – in improving factory and infirmary practices, community health services, and government and industry policies.