In an encouraging move towards inclusivity, over 18,000 self-employed individuals have registered with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

This announcement comes with an urgent call from NSSF senior officials for all self-employed persons to become members.

The healthcare programme with NSSF for self-employed individuals was officially launched on April 1, following a brief trial period that began on March 27. By August 7, more than 18,000 people had registered to pay contributions, all aiming to benefit from the services provided by NSSF, according to Heng Sophannarith, the deputy director-general of NSSF.

Sophannarith informed The Post that self-employed individuals can register at any NSSF branch across the country.

The registration requirements are clear, he stated: “Applicants need to bring along a valid ID card and verify that they are self-employed and they don’t employ staff at their place of business. Also, they must be under 60 years of age”.

“When self-employed individuals come to any branch of NSSF with their ID cards, we’ll ask them about their job. An official representative will then explain the registration process to them. If they are happy to proceed after this explanation, our representative will complete the registration for them,” Sophannarith added.

Sophannarith is urging self-employed individuals to register and try out the service, emphasising that after a new member’s two-month trial period, they will receive free treatment for diseases and emergencies.

He further clarified that self-employed refers to individuals who run their own business without staff and do not receive a salary from any state or private institutions.

GRET Cambodia, an NGO collaborating with NSSF during the trial stage, highlighted that the trial phase aimed to create a social health system for informal workers. This encompasses a wide range of individuals, including tuktuk drivers and domestic workers.

In a recent statement, the NGO declared: “A monthly contribution of 15,600 riel ($3.90) will enable members to access treatment at NSSF member health centres, maternity centres, and other emergency services”.

Among those who have registered is Seng Pha, a 50-year-old grocery vendor in Phnom Penh. She registered to be a member of NSSF in July and has expressed her satisfaction with the membership, saying that she has already received services.

“I am advancing in years and hope to obtain healthcare services through NSSF without any financial burden. I anticipate experiencing quality care from the medical nurses at all centres, without discrimination,” she expressed.

With the programme now in full swing, the focus is on encouraging more self-employed individuals to join. The efforts of the NSSF and collaborating organisations illustrate an essential step towards universal healthcare, a matter of great significance for the self-employed community in Cambodia.