Remarks by Christina Lau, Acting Director, Office of Public Health and Education, USAID/Cambodia, Social Health Protection Project Health, Equity Fund Payment Certification Agency (PCA) Senior Staff Retreat

Monday, April 2, 2018

(as prepared for delivery)

  • H.E. Professor Eng Huot, Secretary of State of Ministry of Health
  • Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

I am delighted to be here representing USAID during this retreat for the senior staff of the newly established Payment Certification Agency, or PCA. USAID has been a proud partner of the Royal Government of Cambodia in supporting the development of the Health Equity Fund, or HEF, since 2003.

My colleagues and I are pleased with the RGC’s commitment to take over system management responsibilities, and we will support a smooth transition from the implementing organization, URC, to the PCA.

Over the past 20 years Health Equity Funds have grown from localized initiatives started by NGOs with donor support to a national and standardized system. The funds provide protection to the poor and vulnerable, allowing them access to healthcare services in almost all public health facilities in the country. USAID is proud to be one of the key partners in this process. We view as a key step in this development the Royal Government’s commitment to allocate increasing resources over time to ensure that the most vulnerable Cambodians have access to healthcare services. The RGC currently covers over half of the cost of the HEF system and, in the near future, the government will provide for the entire cost of the system. This is an impressive accomplishment and something that everyone in this room should be proud of. The ultimate goal of USAID assistance is to provide sustainable improvements, and the RGC taking ownership of the HEF system - both through its financial investments and the creation of the PCA - is a signal that we are achieving that sustainability.

USAID remains committed to supporting Cambodia’s healthcare systems through capacity development and system strengthening, as they move toward achieving Universal Health Coverage goals. We will also continue to support the RGC in expanding social health protection coverage to include priority services such as maternal and child health, reproductive health, infectious diseases and nutrition.

Health is important to everybody. Ultimately, the HEF is part of a broad vision of universal health coverage for Cambodia, which the RGC has outlined in the National Social Protection Policy Framework. We undertake our work here at this retreat not only to help the poor and vulnerable, and the near-poor, but as part of laying the groundwork for that larger vision, where healthcare – good quality healthcare – is ensured for all Cambodians through a strong social protection system.

As we celebrate what has been achieved, we also need to acknowledge that much remains to be accomplished. Along with our other partners, USAID is working closely with the Royal Government to ensure that the PCA is assuming its new roles with adequate human resources after USAID support ends later this year. We must work together to ensure that the transition does not affect the payments that benefit hard working healthcare providers who are providing services or to the poor who are dependent on HEF to access healthcare. We view today’s meeting as critical to ensuring a successful transition because it offers the chance to put challenges on the table, discuss them, and identify appropriate solutions to overcome them.

Together we have come far toward our mutual goal of universal health coverage for the Cambodian people. Given Cambodia’s economic success, UHC is within reach. Together, let’s work to achieve it.

I want to offer my thanks to the PCA, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Health, the development partners, and the SHP team for bringing us all together today. I look forward to our fruitful discussions.

Thank you.

Issuing Country 

Last updated: March 12, 2019

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