The National Social Protection Council yesterday reported the government has spent $43.8 million to provide healthcare services to impoverished citizens and government officials this year through its Health Equity Fund.
The NSPC held an annual meeting on Tuesday and discussed the spending, according to a statement.
NSPC secretary-general Chan Narin yesterday said the money was spent on impoverished citizens, retired government officials, pregnant women and children under two.
“The government spent about $2.8 million this year to aid 280,722 pregnant women and children under two,” Mr Narin said. “[The rest] was spent on retired government officials and impoverished people recognised by local authorities.”
He added more than two million people have benefited from the scheme.
“To protect people’s health, the government has funded all health service expenses via the Health Equity Fund for pregnant women facing difficulties, informal workers, retired soldiers and families of deceased servicemen and women,” Mr Narin said. “It is a policy reflective of the government’s efforts in dealing with the difficulties of people.”
Mr Narin noted the government is aiming to spend the same amount next year.
The HEF was established in 2005 to give access to health services to those who need it free of charge.
In June, the government added a new policy in the HEF to provide pregnant women and children under two years old with $10 each for check-ups.
Yong Kim Eng, president of the People Centre for Development, said the government should also aim to improve health services provided in hospitals and medical centres.
“It is good, but what is important is that the government needs to ensure all people, including impoverished ones, to receive the same quality of treatment as rich people,” Mr Kim Eng said. “The government needs to ensure that this programme will truly benefit impoverished families.”