Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, at the official launch of the roadmap on “providing global health coverage in Cambodia” [Unofficial Translations]


(1) Quality health services, reaching out to locals, people have access to services

[…] The first three goals that we wanted are – firstly, the quality (health services), which means that (people can) access quality health services. If more are to be done for health services but people do not have access to them, it is useless. Let us increase access for the people, especially the poorest, to healthcare services. In this meaning, let us not concentrate or modernize (healthcare services) only for those who can afford in the city when the countryside is still far away. This is the second goal. Thirdly, (let us make the healthcare services) affordable. (We ensure that) quality health services are being present at the grassroots, thinking about accessibility, affordability, or a certain level of government assistance […] the goal is to strengthen human resources, strengthen human capital, the major work of which is to make sure they are healthy. (That being said, we are) building quality health services, ensuring presence at the grassroots, and make it accessible in a sustainable way to the people […]

(2) In 2023, investment in the health sector reached about USD 573 million

Today, we officially launch the 12-year plan of Roadmap to Global Health Coverage “2024-2035” […] we need to have a long-term plan as an illumination beacon which is in line with our goals […] what have been the policies that the government issued […] firstly, with regard to health service quality, we have invested a lot in the last 40 years […] by 2023, (investment in the health sector) has increased to about Riel 2,300 billion, equivalent to USD 573 million focusing on strengthening and improving physical infrastructure, modernizing health, equipment, improving the quality of medicines, increasing local achievement, strengthening the code of conduct, strengthening human resource development, providing more (services) to the locals, encouraging and empowering the local and overseas private sectors to participate […]; and secondly, (on improving access to health services,) we have ensured provision of health services to the local people, built health posts, health centers, district referral hospitals, strengthened provincial referral hospitals, modernized national hospitals, improved the quality of provincial hospital treatment services for serious diseases […]

(3) Three goals of the “Roadmap for Global Health Coverage”

In this roadmap, three goals are set out, as stated by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance, Dr. Aun Pornmoniroth. Firstly, expand the coverage of the health sector to at least 80% of the total population, which we now have covered close to 7 million population. This means that we are able to provide the health coverage through the social protection system in any form to 41% of the population. Our goal in the 12 years period will be to increase the number of people covered […] calculating on the whole population of 17 million, with this goal, in the future, there will be nearly 14 million beneficiaries whom (we) can guarantee access to a doctor […]

Secondly, increase the coverage of essential health services to at least 80% […] this is a high goal, but needs to be carried out in line with the principles of international organizations […] inclusive coverage means that we locate accessible health service to the maximum number of people rather than developing (the system) to serve only a handful […]

Thirdly, reduce the amount spent from people’s pocket on healthcare to about 35% of the total cost. At this point, I may link it with the third goal that, in addition to improving the quality, expanding access to services at a location close to home, is to make the healthcare service affordable. Our country is no different from other countries. As the country develops and the standard of living rises, so does the cost of healthcare inevitably […] because hospitals have to invest in costly equipment, more medicine, more expensive medical services, more expensive staff to provide services […]

(4) Making sure the people’s expenses are compensated and pay low price for expensive services

We need to ensure that the out-of-people-pocket expenses are offset by the fact that they pay a low price to receive expensive services […] currently, there are two formulas to achieve that […] in the days to come there may be a private formula or what we call (health) insurance. I think they have started to sell them already, such as Life Insurance Company. Some have already bought packages. Some people not only insured their health but also their lives […] in the public sector, we organize this way so that the private sector can participate in the future by any one formula […]

(5) The social protection system in the health sector covers the target population of 4.7 million people, equivalent to 27% of the total population

From 2015 to the present, the healthcare system has covered about 4.7 million target people, equivalent to 27% of the total population, with the poorest and most vulnerable groups, such as members of the association of motorcyclists, Tuk-tuks and taxi drivers, workers/employers, etc., employees working in the informal economy tourism service […] this is just a health equity card. We have not yet taken into consideration those who had been assisted with cash sponsorship program, during the Covid-19, which we spent more than 1,300 million […]

(6) Opposition politicians cannot degrade the government’s poor ID card program because the people benefit and value it

We have tried to accomplish many things but there are politicians who wish to smear our efforts. Whatever the government does, to them, is bad. Everything has no way of growing. Degrading the country inside was not enough for them. They go abroad to smear the country further. However, the one case that they cannot devalue the government’s effort regarding the poor ID card program is because the people get the real benefits, and they value it. Since it is so, they can no longer degrade it and resort to stealing (the limelight) […] the government has been trying to grow the tree for 20 years and as it finally bears fruit, they come and stole the fruits, while cursing the growers, […] who have to protect their cleanliness legally. (Stemming all this that) there was a lawsuit leading to the arrest of Mr. Sun Chanthy […] (what he did was) not the right to freedom of expression, but the dissemination of false information for intentionally political gain […]

(7) Defaming the government’s policy discriminating against beneficiaries must be held accountable before the law

The Royal Government sets out a policy of non-discrimination (that provide benefits to) 4.7 million people. Soon, we will expand through (this Roadmap for Global Health Coverage in Cambodia) within 12 years to (cover) 80% people as beneficiaries. It means that (the beneficiaries) are among the general population without discrimination […] if they accuse the Royal Government of having a discriminatory policy, they are completely slandering. They have to be responsible before the law, as they are inciting […] people to lose faith in the policies of the Royal Government, and causing chaos in the minds of the people while reaping political advantage. The Royal Government must protect the cleanliness of officials who strive to implement policies […] for the benefit of almost half of the people in the country […]

(8) May our friends who wish strengthening democracy not judge a case based on “who the person is” but “what the person did”

I would like to call on all friends who advise Cambodia “not to use the law to silence (what they say) the voice (of opposition)” to guide the perpetrators not to violate the law. Mr. Sun Chanthy did not just criticize the Royal Government when he was to Japan recently […] he fabricated stories for political gain and created chaos and unrest […] all of which the government has the right to (defend itself and the country). I would like to ask our friends, especially those in the free world, who wanted strengthening democracy in Cambodia, to bolster implementation and respect of the law on everyone […] and should advise not to go beyond the boundaries of the law. To evaluate any case maybe, please do not rely on “who the person is, but “what the person did” […]

Regarding the person’s claim, I do not believe that our governors have up to 10,000 or 20,000 relatives (to register to benefit from the programs). It was realistic for the people who benefited from this 20-year assistance program to decide to support the CPP and that is their rights. That they support and join with the government is their rights, and that truth cannot be distorted. People are benefiting from what we worked hard to grow. People are therefore happy to support us to grow more. (The point is those who oppose our efforts) must not steal our crops and slander us – the growers. (That they did,) the growers have had the right (to seek justice) […]

We have built a country with empty hands from division and war until we have achieved this much. We should rejoice. We should rejoice that day by day we create more achievements and advancements for the nation. As a Cambodian, one should not take a stand against […] and demonize one’s own (nation) in front of foreigners […] – meeting with the Ambassadors and some visitors who happened to bring up this idea that Cambodia does not have the right to freedom of expression, I responded – “Excellency! this era is very easy to see (whether that is the case). You may just look at Facebook (and other social medias) …” that some people have accused Cambodia of not upholding the right to freedom of expression by singling out the fact that talking about people’s health is punishable, to be frank, the person did not talk about the people’s health but slandered the programs of assistance of the Royal Government […]

(9) Enforcing and implementing the law to suppressing gangsters and illegal use of weapons to cause insecurity and destroy property

On behalf of the head of the Royal Government, I would issue an order to the governors of all provincial and municipal governors, as well as the relevant authorities, to take the strictest measures against gangsters, especially the one using samurai swords in their fights these days […] we must strictly implement the law in force […] as the social security, safety of villages, communes, sangkats, is the main priority […]

Regarding the drug story, we continue to take actions on a regular basis. Obviously, we have implemented many tasks […] at the same time, I would call on the prosecution and the judiciary to take strict legal action on the case of these gangsters with high attention and responsibility to improve the effectiveness of implementation of the law. Please do not mistake this as I am ordering the court. The court is independent, but I would like to call on the prosecution to be strict on this matter […]

We are launching a pilot education program in more than 40 schools. We are working to add extra study hours each day so that our youngsters will not be idle outside school. We are making them busy in school, starting from elementary level. We will take two advantages of this program – firstly, this extra two hours of study will keep them busy and not leave them with much time outside school […] secondly, it should help them learn more rather than having to learn additional private courses […]

From strengthening the policy of safe villages, communes and sangkats, I am calling on concerned institutions look after the health posts and health centers as they soon will operate 24 hours and 7 days per week. May the authorities in the villages and communes help oversee them […] to encourage our physicians to provide public services to the people […] and may the authorities, especially the Capital and Provincial Unified Command, together with the military police commissioners in all provinces and capitals to carry out strict discipline regarding samurai swords fighting […]./.