Trapped in the Service of Debt: How the Burdens of Repayment Are Fueling the Health Poverty Trap in Rural Cambodia

Based on an original and extensive mixed-method data set, this report evidences findings among rural, poor Cambodians in three case study villages. It shows how they are increasingly vulnerable, caught in an inescapable health poverty trap that is characterized by health and food insecurity. Health insecurity is felt through high levels of major illness, high levels of out of-pocket expenses incurred largely through the use of private sector healthcare, and reported ill-health arising from climatic factors (e.g. rising temperatures). Climate change is also worsening the effects of an unstable and insecure food and nutritional landscapes as the rural poor are experiencing reduced stability in availability, access and use/utilization of sufficient, safe, and nutritious grown, foraged and bought foods.

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By Dalia Iskander, Fiorella Picchioni, Long Ly Vouch, Laurie Parsons, Vincent Guermond, Sébastien Michiels, Katherine Brickell, Giacomo Zanello & Nithya Natarajan