March 4, 2008

Excellency, Chairman Senior Minister

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The MoH continued to make steady progress in the period under review. During this period the MoH evaluated its implementation of the first Health Strategic Plan 2003-2007, and began to develop, with technical and financial support from health partners, the second Health Strategic Plan 2008-2015 in close alignment to the CMDG goals for 2015.

In effort to improve maternal and child health, the Ministry recruited in 2007, 188 primary midwives and 40 secondary midwives for health centers to reduce the total number of health centers without any midwife from 172 in 2006 to 112 in 2007. We continue to place the highest priority on recruitment and retention of midwives and have taken several initiatives in this direction, including advocating with the CAR for increased payment to midwives based on salary scales, professional and risk allowances. We are implementing the MoH and Ministry of Economy and Finance Inter-Ministerial Prakas April, 2007 on incentives for delivery services. The effects of the added incentives will be evaluated after an appropriate time interval.

In relation to the new Organic Law recently endorsed by the Council Ministers meeting, the MoH wishes to align its implementation arrangements of provincial health priorities with the law when it is enacted. At the same time, the MOH will ensure continuation of harmonization and alignment efforts within the mandate of the central ministry to implement its long-term Health Strategic Plan for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It is understood that the law intends to encourage community participation in health service delivery at community levels through appropriate resource allocation policies.

It is also noteworthy that during this period Cambodia was selected as a first wave country for the implementation of the International Health Partnership (IHP) launched by the United Kingdom and other major donors. Currently it is closely collaborating with WHO and other development partners to develop key initiatives as part of the IHP. Cambodia participated in an Inter-Agency, Inter-Regional IHP meeting in Zambia last week, at which next steps were discussed. The MoH is also in the process of harmonizing the work of the GFATM CCC (Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Country Coordinating Committee) with that of the TWGH.

Overall, it is clear that 2007 has been a year of landmark achievements in the health sector in Cambodia. From infant and child to maternal and newborn health and control of communicable diseases, progress was noteworthy and built on past achievements.

Thank for your kind attention.

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