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Health minister pushes insurance scheme

Labour Minister Ith Samheng (centre right) talks with Malaysian Ambassador Dato’ Sri Hasan Malek (centre left) last year at the Ministry of Labour in Phnom Penh.
Labour Minister Ith Samheng (centre right) talks with Malaysian Ambassador Dato’ Sri Hasan Malek (centre left) last year at the Ministry of Labour in Phnom Penh.

Health minister pushes insurance scheme

Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng used a speech to more than 2000 workers in Sihanoukville’s special economic zone yesterday to urge them to take advantage of comprehensive health insurance from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

Launched in 2016, the scheme, said Sam Heng, provides free consultations, free medical treatment in hospitals, free pre- and post-natal care, and free childbirth care. In addition, explained Sam Heng, mothers enjoy three months of maternal leave, during which the NSSF pays them 70 percent of their salary.

Sam Heng appealed to workers take advantage of the health care services at the 1,224 hospitals and health centres registered with the NSSF. He added that the Ministry of Labour intends to develop a pension program through the NSSF, but did not specify when such a program would go into effect.

According to the NSSF’s 2016 report, 528,267 individuals working for 554 companies were enrolled in the NSSF’s health services program. Workers pay 1.3 percent of their salary which is matched by employers.

Moeun Tola, executive director for the labour rights NGO Central, said the NSSF is a step in the right direction, but raised questions as to the quality of care workers receive.

“We get complaints from workers who got injured and were sent to the hospital,” he said. “When workers show their NSSF ID card, the doctors do not pay much attention to them; the NSSF should do a comprehensive investigation.”

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