The Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Ministry yesterday said the government on June 1 will begin disbursing funds to impoverished pregnant women in three phases.
Ministry spokesman Touch Channy said it was a promise the government made in the past in order to provide some money to poor pregnant women in the Kingdom.
Mr Channy said the Health Ministry will manage the distribution of funds this year, while the Social Affairs Ministry will carry the torch for the following years.
“The first year, which begins in June, the Health Ministry will manage it,” he said. “From 2020 onwards, the Ministry of Social Affairs will manage it.”
Mr Channy said each woman will receive $40 in four instalments throughout pregnancy, $50 when they have delivered, and $100 in 10 instalments until the baby is two years old.
Health Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Last year, Prime Minister Hun Sen said women who have a poverty card are entitled to receive up to about $190 in three phases, until the baby is two years old.
“We are paying attention to their nutrition and are reducing the maternal and infant mortality rate,” Mr Hun Sen said. “It is a new policy in our society.”
He noted that the policy will cost the state $5 million in the first year, $7 million the following year, and more than $10 million in the third year.
Ros Sopheap, executive director of Gender and Development for Cambodia, said she welcomes what the government is doing for poor women, but is skeptical about whether the scheme is beneficial enough for poor pregnant women.
“We work with women and we see that they need good healthcare while they’re pregnant,” Ms Sopheap said. “The government should have another policy to help take care of the health of poor pregnant women before they deliver.”
According to the Social Affairs Ministry, 72,000 women across the Kingdom have received a poverty card.
Previously, the social protection policy only applied to female soldiers, civil servants and garment workers. Female soldiers and civil servants were given $20 upon giving birth, while garment workers were given $100 per baby.
According to the policy, impoverished women who are already at least five months pregnant before the month of June are entitled to the payout.