Demining workers are to receive the same free healthcare benefits as garment factory staff, Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced.
Addressing a meeting of workers at Teuk Thla pagoda in Phnom Phnom yesterday, Mr Hun Sen said workers at the Cambodian Mine Action Centre, the Halo Trust, and other demining organisations would get medical examination and treatment services free of charge at state hospitals.
“If the health of workers is not guaranteed, their lives are difficult,” he said.
Mr Hun Sen also ordered Health Minister Mam Bun Heng to work with demining organisations and the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority to review the number of operators eligible for the new programme.
CMAC director-general Heng Ratana praised the government for paying attention to staff who work on demining and unexploded ordnance removal in Cambodia.
“On behalf of Cambodian mine clearance operators and CMAC Staff, I would like to express the deepest gratitude to the Prime Minister for providing free medical examination and treatment,” Mr Ratana said.
CMAC official In Deourn welcomed the announcement. He said free healthcare would help reduce his family’s expenses.
“This service will help me so much,” he said. “Every year, I usually go to the hospital for treatment two or three times, so this will save my family money on medical treatment.”
San Chey, the executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said it was positive that the government was providing healthcare for people in high risk jobs, such as the armed forces and demining operators.
“This is a good effort from the government, but we still want a thorough review of the quality of free health services,” he said. “We have to consider the efficiency of the service and whether it will be provided to a high standard, including the timeliness and the type of medicines used.”