The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, alongside various provincial administrations, on July 28 launched its training course on the implementation of the government's cash assistance programme for expectant mothers and children up to two years old. 

The initiative will officially commence in August, bolstering public health measures already in place.

In Koh Kong province, the event was presided over by ministry secretary of state Khuon Lanich in the presence of provincial governor Mithona Phouthorng, who voiced enthusiasm for the programme's potential.

Phouthorng said the training served to review lessons, share knowledge and experience, and discuss adaptations for the programme. It is part of a significant shift in the nation's approach to maternal and child health, aiming to fortify the mechanisms already in place.

According to the ministry, the cash assistance programme represents the first national social assistance scheme of this kind. It's designed to supplement female workers' income during maternity leave, and offer additional allowances to civil servants on maternity leave. The programme's enlargement will be initiated on August 1, doubling its current scope.

Phouthorng underscored the government's commitment to the programme, indicating that it is a significant part of its strategy to ensure no one is left behind. The programme, she explained, is designed to encourage expectant mothers to undertake standardised pregnancy health checks, with an aim to reduce mortality rates and foster both physical and mental development in babies.

The training was also conducted in Mondulkiri province on July 28.

Beginning this coming August, the government will provide between 1,520,000 to 2,720,000 riel ($380 to $680) for pregnant women and children under 2. The intent is not only to improve the health of mothers and their newborns but also to combat child malnutrition. It aims to foster healthy physical and mental development during a child's critical first 1,000 days.