In the first 10 days of August, nearly 200 pregnant women and children under two years of age had already benefited from a new government policy which increases the allowances paid to members of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF). The women expressed their satisfaction with the additional subsidies.

Heng Sophannarith, deputy director-general of the NSSF, said the increased payments began on August 1. As of August 10, a total of 137 women had received pre-natal check-up payments, with a further 30 receiving postpartum healthcare allowances. Twelve women received payments when vaccinating their children.

“This policy is part of a bold new strategy of increasing the government allowances for NSSF members who are pregnant or have a child aged under 2. This is an example of the close attention the government is paying to the wellbeing of mothers and babies.

“It will contribute to the problem of malnutrition from the foetal stage to two years of age. This in turn boosts physical and mental development, in accordance with national social protection policies,” he said.

Sophannarith also called on female workers who met NSSF requirements to claim a maternity allowance of 70 per cent of their daily salary contributions, as well as other benefits.

“Previously, health checks cost money. Now, they get health checks and a cash allowance. Each of four prenatal check-ups nets a payments of 80,000 riel (around $20), and on the day of the birth, one payment of 800,000 riel (around $200, double the previous payment). Following the birth, each mother will receive up to 10 more payments of 80,000 riel when they take their baby for check-ups and vaccinations,” he added.

Chen Sopheach, who gave birth about three weeks ago, said she was pleased that she and her family had received the payments, under both the old and new payment levels. She explained that not only did she not have to spend money on check-ups, but she was paid an allowance, which helped relieve the financial burden of her family, to some extent.

“As a woman, I am very pleased that the government is increasing policies which support women before and after childbirth. These policies are good because they reduce a lot of costs for us during pregnancy. The doctors who treated me were excellent,” she told The Post.

Prak Sarath, deputy governor of Kandal province, appealed to all of the factories and large enterprises in the province to ensure that their employees were registered with the NSSF.

He said that registration means they will not miss out on the many benefits provided by the fund, noting that in many cases, registration and the dissemination of information about the fund is legally required.