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 unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The