Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov’t health workers underpaid: study



Gov’t health workers underpaid: study

A nurse attends to newborn quadruplets at a hospital last year in Preah Vihear province. A new report has found that public health workers like nurses and midwives are underpaid and undertrained. Photo supplied
A nurse attends to newborn quadruplets at a hospital last year in Preah Vihear province. A new report has found that public health workers like nurses and midwives are underpaid and undertrained. Photo supplied

Gov’t health workers underpaid: study

Cambodia’s public health workers are underpaid and poorly trained, with a whopping 98 per cent relying on a second job to supplement their income, according to a recent report.

The report, which analyses whether Cambodian health workers are motivated by income, was published by Global Health Action on June 17 and called for immediate policy changes to ensure financial incentives were “just and objective”, and that workers were trained properly.

Just 17 per cent said their income – which averaged $190 a month – was sufficient to live on, while the majority (58 per cent) said they were not adequately trained for their jobs as nurses and midwives.

Report author Khim Keovathanak, a researcher at the University of Health Sciences’ public health department, said although the report found health workers were motivated by community respect, and income alone was not a guarantee for quality services, it was still “a major contributor”.

“The impact of insufficient income is some compromise on the quality of service delivery,” he said via email, adding there “absolutely” needed to be higher salaries and better training.

According to interviews, he said, distribution of provincial Special Operating Agencies incentives – a sort of target-based bonus scheme – had shortcomings, such as some providers receiving higher incentives although they worked less.

Health Minister Mam Bunheng, however, said the SOA incentives were “working well” and salaries were unlikely to increase in the near future, as the minimum wage for government health workers had already been lifted to $200 per month in April.

“I don’t see it is high enough, but it is appropriate for now,” he said. “Our staff can earn more by undertaking extra functions, such as night duty.”

While Bunheng said that extra training was available for workers, Chum Sopha, executive director at Health and Development Alliance, said many did not apply because they could not afford it, and added that patients could be put at risk if staff were underpaid.

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

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • 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