Sub-decree to transfer health services ‘closer to the people’

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Minister of Interior Sar Kheng was presiding at a meeting discussing about a draft sub-decree to improve the provision of health services on Wednesday.

The National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD) has approved a draft sub-decree to improve the provision of health services in a quality, safe, effective and equitable manner.

Consisting of eight chapters and 27 articles, the sub-decree outlines the delegating of authority in health service provision to municipal and provincial administrations.

It was passed during a meeting presided over by Minister of Interior Sar Kheng at the ministry on Wednesday.

The sub-decree aims to delegate decision-making and responsibility for managing health services to sub-national administrations, which will in turn bring the services “closer to the people”.

“Delegate to municipal and provincial administrations the task of managing provincial health departments, district health bureaus and referral hospitals,” the draft sub-decree states.

“Also transfer financial resources, assets and human resources to municipal and provincial administrations so they can carry out the delegated tasks.

Article 6 in Chapter 3 states: “The NCDD shall coordinate the delegation process with the ministries of health, interior, economy and finance, and municipal and provincial administrations to determine the size and conditions of financial resources.

“Technical and financial conditions are to be determined through an inter-ministerial prakas,” the article says.

Article 17 in Chapter 5 states that municipal and provincial administrations are responsible for managing and allocating the financial resources needed to implement the delegated health functions effectively in line with national health policy, strategic planning, guides on clinical operations, protocols of treatment, standards, quality and other technical norms.

“To implement these functions effectively, municipal and provincial administrations shall cooperate with relevant ministries, institutions, development partners,civil society organisations and other stakeholders.

“Municipal and provincial administrations shall gather financial, material and technical support from stakeholders and use the resources and their discretion to increase the effectiveness of health service provision in their localities.

“Progress reports on the implementation of the functions delegated to local administrations shall be compiled and sent to the ministries of health and interior, as shall financial reports in accordance with the principles and procedures,” Article 17 states.

Ngan Chamroeun, Ministry of Interior secretary of state and the head of NCDD, said the approval of the draft sub-decree will help strengthen public service provision in an effective manner.

He said it will empower municipal, provincial, district and town administrations to decide on how best to provide services in an effective and timely manner.

“All the power is transferred to municipal and provincial, district and town administrations so they can bring the services closer to the people.”

“The NCDD has approved three draft sub-decrees. The first covers the functions and structure of town administration. The second covers the functions and structure of provincial district administration. The third covers the functions and structure of municipal district administration to help strengthen public service provision effectively,” Chamroeun said.

Ministry of Health spokespersons could not be reached for comment by The Post on Wednesday.

San Chey, the executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability (Ansa), welcomed the sub-decree, which he said was a positive start in empowering and providing budgets to sub-national administrations.

Chey urged local authorities to enable residents to participate in monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of their implementation.

“It is a good sign for the beginning of autonomy at sub-national levels in the health sector.

“But the authorities should provide people an opportunity to monitor and assess the implementation of sub-national administrations.”