Background: the current project fits within a long-term vision on the reconstruction of healthcare in Cambodia, that goes parallel with the development of the country. After the Khmer Rouge period and the Vietnamese occupation (1974 -1994) medical care and medical infrastructure were inadequate in Cambodia. The Red Cross and AZG (Medicines Without Frontiers) started with primary health care and set up first-aid hospitals. Meanwhile, AZG contacted a number of French, Belgian and Swiss universities to start up a new and adjusted medical training programme. UGent has taken up this role through a VLIR -UOS Own Initiative project in 1994, in which the objective was to train trainers in basic medical sciences and general surgery. As a result 6 PhD s in surgery were realised. These doctors are currently in charge within the medical faculty of the local partner. Once the medical basic training was re-started, the focus was shifted to re-initiating the training of 2nd-line hospital doctors, taking on a thematic approach. UGent opted to focus on the second cause of cancer death in Cambodia: gastrointestinal cancer. A second Own Initiative was started in 2007 to get a better understanding of gastrointestinal tumours in Cambodia, which has lead to a better understanding of carcinoma in general and its treatment in Cambodia in particular. Currently, there is an increased awareness on the government level that they need a national cancer plan, in which the reference centre for gastrointestinal carcinoma plays a key role, in relation to both prevention and therapeutic treatment. Traditionally, public health in LMICs has focused on low cost, low technology, preventive measures and primary health care. In contrast, surgery and cancer treatment in general is perceived as a higher cost, higher technology, curative, individually focused intervention. Recent evidence however has documented the cost-effectiveness of essential surgical care in LMICs, and the concept of surgery as a population-based, preventive strategy is slowly becoming acknowledged within the public health community. The proliferation of virtual programs in public health, many of which include effective surgical care, has made it difficult to develop a coordinating approach. The cross-cutting nature suggests that improved surgical care will strengthen health systems overall and enhance progress towards achieving the MDGs. In fact, the 2008 Copenhagen Consensus included surgery in its list of priority investments for the world s poor. Prominent public health ex-pats have recently called attention to the longstanding neglect of surgery within global health and its crucial role in meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). At a first estimate, 11% of the global burden of disease can be treated with surgery (38% injuries, 19% malignancies). General objective, development objective: improvement of public health care.. This project was identified by RTI International for their own research purposes and some fields do not align with The GO Map categories. End dates were estimated as one year after the start date. The Project Type "Research, Clinical" may not accurately describe this project's focus but was used for all RTI International's Global Noncommunicable Diseases Initiative projects added in June 2018. Specialties were not analyzed. All project funding was valued in 2015 USD.