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Ministry of Social Affairs Plans to Allow Private Sector to Open Nursing Homes

PHNOM PENH: The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) has stated it plans to allow the private sector to open nursing homes for the elderly, and is in the process of preparing the procedures to allow this work to be possible.

The Director of Social Services and Spokesperson of MoSVY, Touch Channy, stated during the Royal Government Spokespersons Unit press conference on Thursday morning, 18 August, that MoSVY has established the National Center for the Protection of the Elderly in Phnom Penh, training human resources for the care of the elderly and encouraging partners and NGOs to open nursing homes.

"We do not have centers for the care of the elderly, which is our policy," he said. "However, the Ministry has encouraged the private sector or partner organizations to set up nursing homes where the elderly can be admitted, as some developed countries have. We want to do the same, but our capacity is in our partners and the private sector.”

Cambodia has 1,646 senior citizens' associations registered across all communes, with more than 300,000 senior members over the age of 60.

The Director of the Department of the Elderly and Veterans, Kun Chea Sin, said that in a situation where the Cambodian economy is still limited, the establishment of state-owned nursing homes will increase the cost burden. He added that the Ministry is currently training professional officers and local trainees to have knowledge in this area as well.

He said in the future, the Ministry will start pilot projects for building elderly care centers, and will select some pagodas as project locations.

"My work is studying this matter. Maybe next year or next term we will start doing small pilot projects at target pagodas," he said.

According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Cambodia office, in 2019, the current 8.9% of the Cambodian population over the age of 60 is expected to reach 21% by 2050, requiring a social protection system to be in place to accommodate them.

To commemorate the older generations who have built a global society, 1 October has been designated every year since 1990 as International Day of Older Persons, by the United Nations General Assembly.

In a message commemorating this day on 1 October 2021, Prime Minister Hun Sen instructed relevant ministries, institutions, both public and private, humanitarian organizations, and the media to increase their attention and support in all possible ways to improve the well-being of the elderly. He also urged the sub-national administration to take time to visit and support the elderly in communities on the grassroots level.

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