Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - $10M in cash subsidies benefit 170K pregnant women, infants



$10M in cash subsidies benefit 170K pregnant women, infants

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A pregnant womon leaves Phsar Doeum Thkov Health Center, Chamkarmon District, Phnom Penh yesterday. Hean Rangsey

$10M in cash subsidies benefit 170K pregnant women, infants

Over 170,000 pregnant women and children under the age of two have received social protection stipends totalling $10 million under a government cash transfer programme implemented since June 2019.

Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation and vice-chairman of the National Social Protection Board Vong Soth lauded the programme’s fulfilment during the past year despite obstacles including the Covid-19 pandemic.

Soth made the remarks during a meeting to review programme results from last year and formulate direction for this year on February 1.

He added that the cash subsidy programme for poor and vulnerable families was officially launched on June 24 by Prime Minister Hun Sen to alleviate hardships during the pandemic, and more than 710,000 families comprising more than 2.8 million people have benefited from handouts of nearly $232 million as of January 24.

Director-general of the ministry’s General Department of Technical Affairs Touch Channy told The Post that improvements in the programme’s implementation were due to government efforts to modernise its use of technology, facilitating access of recipients to services and cash payments.

“This programme has faced many challenges as it depends on modern technological systems. Previously, internet coverage was insufficient, but this is no longer a problem. Programme participants can now access money once they reach hospital,” he said.

Channy said government assistance for pregnant women and children under two years old would continue while the ministry works to provide IDPoor cards to eligible families.

“The family programme is similar to the transfer package for pregnant women in that benefits provided depend on the number of family members and their ages. Exact amounts remain to be determined as the programme is still under planning,” he said.

Gender and Development in Cambodia executive director Ros Sopheap supported the subsidies, saying they contributed to improving children’s nutrition in poor families. It aims to promote physical and intellectual growth as well as maternal and infant health, as these are key resources of society.

However, Sopheap urged relevant institutions to develop long-term strategies to address problems faced by women prior to pregnancy and also a lack of health care facilities in remote areas.

“I want the government to look further into the fact that women need strategic assistance with long-term effectiveness rather than their relying on the social services provided to them.

“The money provided can cover their costs for only a limited period. It would be better if we invest in the healthcare system to enable them to receive better healthcare every day. There are also shortages in some capacities such as supplies of medicines in remote areas,” Sopheap said.

The cash transfer programme for poor pregnant women and young children consists of three stages. The first entails a subsidy of 40,000 riel ($10) for each of four prenatal check-ups. The second stage provides 200,000 riel at childbirth.

The third stage provides 40,000 riel for each of the first four postpartum health check-ups and six child health exams including vaccinations prior to reaching two years old.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants