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Pace of health program for garment workers sluggish
Feb '10
Since its inception in last March, a programme to provide affordable health care facilities to garment workers, has strived to appeal to the factory owners. But still the organizers expect that it will serve around 100,000 workers by end part of 2011.

The programme initiated by Cambodia's Garment Manufacturers Association and the French NGO Groupe de Recherches et d'Etudes Technologiques (GRET) covers six diverse health-care facilities. Preah Kossamak Hospital and a health centre in Tuol Kork joined the programme on February 1.

Project Manager Aurore Lambert informed that, under the programme, workers of the garment factories, who have joined the programme are eligible to receive health care facilities worth US $1.6 per month, the cost of which will be borne jointly by the workers and employers.

Every month, the worker's contribution will be deducted from their salary and they can avail free health care facilities from the concerned public health facility centres as and when they need, she added.

Under the programme a fixed amount is reimbursed to the hospitals to partially cover the health care costs incurred by them. Like for example, anyone who undergoes treatment at the Cambodian-Russian Friendship Hospital is paid $61 per person, regardless of the actual cost incurred by them.

She also informed that, the first batch of garment workers was insured in last September and by now, over 2,000 garment workers have been brought within the purview of the programme.

Lambert pointed fingers at the financial crisis, for being responsible for sluggish start of the programme and stated that they had anticipated to cover around 10,000 workers during the first year, but owing to the economic crisis it is getting difficult to convince factory owners to contribute towards the programme.

On the whole, since health insurance is altogether a new concept for garment workers, thus it took some time for them to grasp the concept but now, after passage of few months many of them are willing to join the programme, she added.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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