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Start date set for garment worker health checks

Mom Sophon / Khmer Times Share:
Free medical treatment for garment workers is set to begin January 1.

The Ministry of Labour’s spokesman yesterday said that free medical treatment for garment workers, announced by Prime Minister Hun Sen last week, will start on January 1.

Spokesman Heng Sour said the scheme would have help from other ministries.

“The Health Ministry and Finance Ministry will hold a series of meetings to introduce simple procedures to implement this campaign,” he said.

Mr Sour said that all formal and informal workers would receive treatment and health checks at state hospitals across the country.

“The budget will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Health,” he said.

Health Ministry officials could not be reached for comment.

According to Labour Minister Ith Samheng, Cambodia has 1,107 factories and enterprises in garment and footwear and more than 740,000 workers in the sector.

Free Trade Union president Chea Mony said that the health services being planned for workers should have already been in place.

Mr Mony added that he is worried Mr Hun Sen’s promise may be broken if sub-national officials fail to carry out the campaign properly.

“The preparation to provide health care at the factories is a good thing, but I’m afraid that the subordinates will only work for a week, and it will fail after that,” he said.

“If they implement the Prime Minister’s orders without properly instructing subordinates, it will not be beneficial.”

Garment worker Kith Meng said she was glad to hear the government had begun to pay more attention to the welfare and living conditions of workers.

Ms Meng said the healthcare campaign would help alleviate financial stress on workers and allow them to divert funds to food, rent, water and electricity.

“I am really happy,” she said, noting she too was worried about nation-wide implementation.

“Officials at the upper level should monitor the performance of subordinate officials to check whether the work is effective,” she said.

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