Social Health Protection Project


The USAID Social Health Protection Project in Cambodia (SHP), implemented by University Research Co., LLC (URC) and partners, aims to support the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) to continue progress towards universal health coverage by supporting the expansion of the Health Equity Fund (HEF) system and other social health protection mechanisms throughout the country. Working closely with the Cambodian Ministry of Health, the USAID SHP Project collaborates with Australia’s aid agency, the World Bank, the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to support the national HEF system, which provides poor households with free access to public health services thereby creating more access to preventive care, increasing financial stability for those most at risk of a catastrophic health event, and decreasing the prevalence of serious illness.

Through this project, URC and its partners Buddhism for Health (BFH), Partnership for Better Health (PBH), the Open Institute (OI), and the Nossal Institute of Global Health at the University of Melbourne (Nossal) bring together extensive experience in strengthening and implementing HEFs in Cambodia, devising innovative local governance strategies for SHP, conducting research and evaluations to produce an empirical foundation for advancing SHP, and local capacity building in Cambodia and globally to meet these objectives. 

Key Activities

  • Increasing national level capacity and accountability of government staff and institutions to steward and administer SHP mechanisms
  • Strengthening community oversight and civil society participation in the governance of SHP activities
  • Strengthening the effectiveness and transparency of targeting systems that identify poor households and qualify them for inclusion in the HEF system
  • Addressing the quality of care provided in public health facilities by using the purchasing power of the HEF system to leverage measured improvements in the services provided to the poor
  • Increasing access to health services by improved targeting of people living with HIV and most-at-risk populations and ensuring that SHP schemes cover all non-free HIV, sexually transmitted infection and TB services


  • Worked closely with the Ministry of Health Department of Planning and Health Information (MOH/DPHI) to support the establishment of the interim National Social Health Protection Fund (NSHPF).
  • Drafted revisions to the interim “Standard Benefit Package and Provider Payment Mechanism for Health Equity Funds.” Following consultations with relevant MOH programs and JPIG partners, the revised draft of the document was submitted to the MOH in June.
  • On August 29, 2014, the MOH officially released the revised standard benefit package and provider payment mechanism under the signature of H.E. Professor Eng Huot with an effective date of September 1. All suggested elements in the draft sent forward in June were included in the final version.
  • Initiated the development of a behavior change communication plan for the HEF system, which is designed to address gaps in general understanding of HEF related targeting, eligibility, services covered, and the complaint system.
  • Worked with USAID Quality Health Services and USAID OPHE to draft a USAID Project Coordination Strategy for national and regional harmonization in six key areas:
    • Social Health Protection
    • Health Informatics
    • Tuberculosis
    • Nutrition & Water/Sanitation
    • Family Planning
    • Maternal/Newborn Health
Ratanak Mondol district, Battambang province, Cambodia. A local meeting to establish a community managed health equity fund.
2014 to 2018
US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Buddhism for Health
Partnership for Better Health
Open Institute
Nossal Institute for Global Health
Regions/ Countries