Ladies and Gentlemen
My warmest greetings to you all!Today is a very important day – and I am truly happy to be here in the Closing of the National Day of Medicines and Pharmacies; and once again meet all of you, – the professors, physicians and pharmacists, and Ladies and Gentlemen who came from France to participate this important event. On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and my own self, I wish to convey my congratulations and sincerely appreciate all the efforts made by the Association of Cambodian Physicians and the Association of Cambodian Pharmacists in Cambodia, and the Association of Cambodian Physicians and the Association of Friends of Cambodian Medical and Pharmacist Students in France for their proactive cooperation in organizing this inaugural event in every two years for the benefit of Cambodian people and our nation.
As I have raised many times that the Royal Government of Cambodia has three important strategies in reducing the poverty: (i) promote sustainable high economic growth, (ii) equitable sharing the fruits of this growth, especially through social development; and (iii) protection of the environment and sustainable management of natural resources. Thus, the Royal Government recognizes that the poverty reduction cannot be achieved through the only equitable redistribution of the economic growth. However, the promotion of social and cultural developments is crucial for improving the equality within the society eliminating all the disparities, building the capacity and creating the opportunities for the people that they can participate more actively and efficiently in the economic development process.
To get this momentum, the health development is the key-targeted priority of the Royal Government.You all may know that decades of civil war and political instability left Cambodia with poor public services and damaged infrastructure. The Khmer Rouge completely destroyed the national health system. Out of one thousand doctors, who had their training before 1975, only fifty have survived the regime of brutality and genocide. After the Liberation Day, 7 January 1979, the rehabilitation of the health system became the first priority of the government at that time. We have called upon the already few health personnel surviving the death, to clean up the hospitals for renewed operations, which were abandoned for three year, eight months and twenty days, and set up a new heath system from scratches.
The period 1980-90 represents the period of reconstruction and rehabilitation of the entire national health system, – the physical infrastructure, the management and the human resource. During the period, many health service personnel have been trained when the health service system was being established as an institution, getting financings and equipped with instruments and medicaments and skilled staff at all levels from national hospitals to provincial and district down to the commune health centers or clinics. All the national programs such as tuberculosis, malaria and polio have been operational through out the entire health system.
Since 1990, we fortunately got support from our development partners to share the burdens in providing increasing assistance to make improvement and invest in the health sector.Therefore, I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to all the officials and staff of the Ministry of Health for their tireless efforts in fulfilling their tasks for the cause of rehabilitation and development of the health system in Cambodia, achieving proud results in improving the health services. I also wish, to take this opportunity, to thank all the development partners and donors for their valuable contributions in providing funds and technical assistance to rehabilitate and develop the health system in Cambodia.
A good health system would positively contribute to the economic development, as it is a determining factor for improved productivity that leads to more investment and more savings. This is because, with good health, people would be doing well in their education a well as in their job, and it brings changes in demography. Experiences of countries in the region show the improvement in health is one of the key factors enabling the “East Asia miracle” of the economic growth to happened, though it alone could not be a sufficient driving force for high level economic growth. Thus, I wish to indicate that the government policy on health does not only take into consideration the economic rationales, but it also focuses on the well-being of our people as a whole.
In this sense, the Royal Government considers the strengthening the capacity and the health of the people is crucial for fulfilling the agenda of poverty reduction and reform programs in all sectors. With this idea in mind, the Royal Government has made every efforts to facilitate and promote the participation by NGOs as well as private sector in providing health service, treatment and preventive measures in either urban or rural areas, which is aimed at reducing the mortality rate among children and mothers and put an end to all kind of transmitting diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and so forth.
Though, our efforts have helped considerably improve the well-being of the people with encouraging positive changes, but we still have many other things to be done to reach the standards of the developed and the regional countries health status and meet the demographic requirements. Fully aware of the situation and the needs, the Royal Government has been committed to achieve its long term goals in accordance with the millennium goals for 2015 as the following:
- reduce the number of people living under the poverty line from 36% to 20%;reduce the rate of children with malnutrition under the age of 5 from 50% to 20%;Reduce the mortality rate among children under 5 year by two third, i.e. from 95 to 32 persons in 1,000 children at birth, while from 125 to 41 persons in 1,000 children under 5 years;Reduce the mortality rate for mother from 437 to 250 persons in 100,000 births;Universal access to a family planning services before 2015;
- 25% reduction in HIV epidemic for people under the age of 15-25 and from 2.8 to 2.1% among population between 15 and 80 by year 2015;
To this end, the Royal Government has set policies and strategies, investment programs and systematic measures in term of SEDPII and PIP three year rolling plan and the strategic plan for health sector (2003-2007) which is under intensive preparation and close cooperation with development partners. Initially, we focus on the delivery of health services, changed behavior of the service providers, the quality of the service, human resource development, financing the health sector and the institutional reform and development. These should be implemented through the following policies:
- Improve the delivery of basic health service for the people;Increase the specialized service at the reach of resource available;Implement the decentralization and de-concentration of finance and administration systems in the health sector;Continue attentions on the prevention, elimination of transmitted diseases and health care for mothers and the children;Strengthen the implementation and development of rules and regulations for the health sector;Further improve the quality and affectivity of the health service delivery;Develop a partnership between the state and private sector in the health system; and
- Efficiently use the health information and data for planning; implementation and the monitoring.
To implement those policy measures the Royal Government will make every effort to continually increase budget spending for investment and current expenses for the health sector. During the last four years, the allocation for health sector has increased more than three times from 43 Billion Riel in 1998 to 142 Billion Riel in 2001. In the 2002 budget, the allocation for the health sector is about 172 Billion Riel with an increase of 22% compared to 2001.The past two-day meeting in the Fifth National Day of Medicines and Pharmacies signifies an important event for the nation. You all raised and discussed the 15 themes of “ethics and professionalism”; producing useful recommendations for development of health system in Cambodia, in general, and for the formulation of strategic planning of the health system 2003-2007, in particular.
Furthermore, this National Day also provides the opportunity for sharing the sentiment of friendship between the domestic physicians and pharmacists with their colleagues from France. It further strengthens the friendship and solidarity among themselves that would result in heightened humanitarian activities for the benefits of our Cambodian people. In addition, I expect that your stay in Cambodia during the past few days would help you learn more about the actual situation in Cambodia, the efforts have been made before, and all the achievements realized in all the sectors. That would give you an idea of the current and future needs to improve the living standards of our people.I think there is no need to talk in the details again the topics, which were discussed.
However, I wish to indicate that practicing the medicine is the most respectful profession of humanity nature in the world. But, then the respect and the humanity nature all depend on the practitioners, whether they adhere to their code of conducts or not. The physicians, pharmacists and the health service personnel without professional ethics and conscience would not get the respect at all. That why the message from a Greek physician (Hypocrat’s) since 300 year before AD has been taken at heart by next generations of physicians around the world and used it as the ethical principles for their profession so far.
In the Kingdom of Cambodia, in order to strengthen and improve the code of conducts of the physicians, we have prepared a legal framework by establishing a Royal Decree, which was signed by the King on 01 February, 2000. In this context, the Association Bar of the Physicians is tasked to oversee the professional and ethical performance under the surveillance of the provincial, regional and the national councils of physicians.
As it is an important issue, I request the Ministry of Health push hard for the establishment of the Association Bars of Physicians as soon as possible.I strongly belief that through this mechanism of celebrating the National Day of Medicines and Pharmacies, the level of professional code of conducts will be improved further both in effectivity and the quality of the services for the common benefit of all people, ensuring a sustainable development and thus the poverty reduction in Cambodia.
In closing, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and my own self, let me extend to you all, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the five gems of Buddhist wishes and my personal wish for your prosperity and happiness. I declare the closing of this National day of Medicines and Pharmacies now.