Joint Committee Forming To Study Health-Care Funding

The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance have agreed to set up a committee to study how to obtain allocated health-care funds more efficiently, the director general of administration and finance at the Ministry of Health said.

Examining how to train Mini­stry of Health employees in acc­ounting and financing is also part of the study, said Kuyseang Te.

“We need to figure out how the Ministry of Economy and Fin­ance can shorten the way to get money, especially for the prov­inces,” he said Thursday.

Health experts have repeatedly said that improving the budget for the Ministry of Health is a key element in improving the troubled health-care system in Cam­bodia. In previous years, only $1 per capita was spent on health care, leaving tens of thousands of people uncared for.

For the 2000 budget passed by the National Assembly earlier this month, the government proposed a 51 percent increase in the health budget. But it is unclear whether the Ministry of Health and provincial health departments will see all the funds.

Officials in the past have touted increases in the health-care budget, but the Ministry of Health and provincial health departments received less than 50 percent of the amount allocated to them. “I don’t expect we will get 100 percent, but I think it will be better than in the past,” Kuy­seang Te said.

The deputy director of external finance at the Finance Ministry, Vongsey Vissoth, confirmed that the ministry had agreed to take part in a committee to discuss fund allocation for health.

Additionally, the Finance Min­istry refused a request by the Health Ministry to hire an independent auditor, saying it was too expensive.

But Kuyseang Te said the Health Ministry needs an independent audit because the audits done by the Finance Ministry and the National Assembly produce different results, making it difficult to determine accurate information.

The Health and Finance Mini­stries are also discussing establishing action programs which would determine priority areas for which appropriations should not be cut from the budget .



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