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Local health officials expect budget stasis

A medical practitioner talks to a patient during an appointment at a Banteay Meanchey health centre earlier this year.
A medical practitioner talks to a patient during an appointment at a Banteay Meanchey health centre earlier this year. Hong Menea

Local health officials expect budget stasis

The Ministry of Health has instructed all provincial health departments to prepare their budgets for 2017, giving them until June 30 to submit them to the ministry, according to a statement.

Health Minister Mam Bunheng in the directive said the ministry needs to begin preparing in order to have a solid foundation on which to make its case when negotiating with the Ministry of Economy and Finance over its share of the national budget. “The health departments need to be equipped with proper reasons for their budgets,” the statement reads.

Bunheng didn’t return requests for comment yesterday.

However, Kham Samphos, chief of the technical bureau at the Oddar Meanchey provincial health department, maintained that his department had been told its budget will remain flat for 2017, which will present challenges as donor funding continues to shrink. “When the budget is the same, it is a problem,” he said. “Our province is the poorest among all other provinces.”

Samphos said he was unable to provide exact budget figures for the department for 2016.

Khem Virak, chief of planning at the Prey Veng health department, said his department was already putting together its budget to be able to meet the June 30 deadline.

He said the budget focused on certain areas, which included maternal health and communicable and non-communicable diseases. However, Virak also said they were informed that their provincial budget would remain the same as in 2016.

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