An inter-ministerial statement was issued last week highlighting the achievements and further initiatives of the government’s cash subsidy programme for pregnant women, which seeks to promote maternal and child welfare and improve the wellbeing of children from impoverished families.
In the statement issued last week, the Ministries of Interior; Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation; and Planning joined forces to further the effective implementation of the initiative.
Touch Channy, a spokesman for the Ministry of Social Affairs, said: “Aside from the subsidy, each of the communal administrations across the Kingdom will receive one tablet (computer), equipped with internet access, to enable the registration of all pregnant women in their respective commune. This will allow for the smooth distribution of cash subsidy.”
However, he noted due to the limited funding, only pregnant women carrying Poor Identity Cards will receive the cash aid. He added the recipients can receive the cash aid for a maximum of 10 times, within the first month of pregnancy until the child reaches two.
“There are three phases in the programme. First, the pregnant woman will receive a cash support of $10 for up to four times each time she comes for a prenatal care visit. Once the woman gives birth, she will receive a one-time payment of $50, and will receive $10 each time she goes for a post-delivery checkup until the baby reaches two years of age,” noted Mr Channy.
Since the programme launched last year until yesterday, Mr Channy said a total nearly $4.2 million has been disbursed to 81,397 mothers.
Ros Sopheap, executive director of the Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC), lauded the initiative but expressed doubts on whether the assistance is being expended properly.
“The cash is given to support the child, but we don’t know whether the mother splits the cash to be spent for the whole family. Being poor, they are forced to use the money for the whole family as they don’t earn enough. In some cases, drunk and abusive husbands use the money to support their vice. So, the government should educate both parents in prioritising the child’s welfare,” she said.