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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Govt flunking vital indicators: report

Govt flunking vital indicators: report

Despite economic development, government spending on health and education still among lowest in developing world, group claims.

THE government's efforts to address patterns of deprivation and inequality are inadequate, according to a new report, which highlights "serious concerns" about the population's access to health, food, education, housing and potable water.

In a fact sheet released March 23, the US-based Centre for Economic and Social Rights said that, despite solid economic growth, the Kingdom lags behind in key economic and social indicators.

"Cambodia's GDP per capita continues to rise steadily. ... However, government expenditure on health and education is comparatively very low," the report says.

The report found that government expenditures totalled 3.5 percent of GDP - the lowest level of all low-income countries  assessed - compared with 9.3 percent for Laos and 12.1 percent for Papua New Guinea.

Shelling out for health care

In addition, the report highlighted a "lack of government commitment" to providing needed health care, and noted that Cambodians spend more of their private income on medical treatments than people in other low-income countries. They paid a total of 5.8 percent of GDP for health care in 2006, compared with 4.5 percent in Vietnam and just 2.9 percent in Laos.

The report also commented on the decline in access to clean water and adequate housing, especially in urban areas where access to water has declined and four in five people live in substandard settlements, it said.

The group's fact sheet, prepared from local and international data sources, was released in advance of Cambodia's five-year report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in May.



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