Building the speech-language pathology workforce in Cambodia through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals

Ruth Bryce, Catherine Easton, Debbie Bong, Chenda Net, Samnang Chan, Jennifer Knight

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Purpose: Current speech-language pathology (SLP) services in Cambodia are limited in scope, service accessibility and integration into government systems. However, momentum is growing to develop an internationally recognised profession. This paper examines the depth and breadth of SLP support available to people with communication and/or swallowing difficulties in relation the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Method and Result: Qualitative interview data collected from service facilities (n = 13) and speech therapy practitioners (n = 27) were mapped and analysed for accessibility and scope of SLP services. Data revealed a workforce density of 0.16:100 000. Disparity in service accessibility was identified between provincial and urban locations, adult and paediatric populations and range of practice areas. Discussion and Conclusion: The findings demonstrate the importance of partnerships (SDG 17) among government departments, non-government organisations and private sector entities to establish a sustainable and culturally responsive SLP profession in Cambodia. Although there is no Cambodian university training program, there is a growing momentum and local commitment to establishing a workforce to support Cambodians with communication and/or swallowing difficulties. This commentary paper focuses on good health and well-being (SDG 3), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), reduced inequalities (SDG 10), and also addresses no poverty (SDG 1), quality education (SDG 4) and partnerships for the goals (SDG 17).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-118
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number1
Early online dateDec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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