The government plans to launch an allowance scheme for the Kingdom’s poorest mothers and infants starting from June, according to a Tuesday press release from the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
The scheme, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, aims to reduce maternal and infant malnutrition and stimulate the physical and mental growth of newborns from impoverished households.
The scheme was announced on Thursday during the second meeting of the National Social Protection Council chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth.
Pregnant women from poor families with a special identification card from the Ministry of Health will be eligible to receive an allowance in stages, the press release stated.
During pregnancy, would-be mothers will receive 40,000 riel ($10) up to four times whenever they do pre-natal check-ups.
In the second stage, it added, mothers will be given a one-off allowance of 200,000 riel when they give birth.
Finally, 40,000 riel will be given to mothers a maximum of four times after they have post-natal check-ups, as well as up to six times following each time they get their newborns vaccinated, until the infant turns two.
Meas Sokdesan, Ministry of Economy and Finance spokesperson, told The Post that this scheme proves that the government cares about its citizens.
“This scheme has never existed before. In short, the government of the current mandate fulfills its promises. We will do whatever [we can] to make newborns have enough nutrition,” he said.
Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC) executive director Ros Sopheap lauded the scheme, which he regarded “in line with the government’s agenda to promote maternal and infant health”.
However, he argued that some individuals might misuse the allowance to buy alcohol or pay off debt instead of dedicating it to their newborns.
“In my opinion, I think it would be better if the government allocate the budget to strengthen services at health centres instead. It would achieve better results as the health centres across the country sometimes suffer from a shortage of things that citizens need – such as staff and medicine,” she said.