Your Venerable Buddhist Monks,
Your Excellency FUMIAKI TAKAHASHI, Ambassador of Japan to Cambodia
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, I have a great pleasure to joint you all, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, in inaugurating and turning over the AIDS Consultation Center, including the ground breaking ceremony to build the center for AIDS patients in the Preah Kosamak Hospital.
Through His Excellency FUMIAKI TAKAHASHI, Ambassador of Japan and Counselor of French Embassy to Cambodia, on behalf of Royal Government (RG) and Cambodian people as well as my own self may I extend my deep gratitude to the government and people of Japan as well as the government and people of France for their direct involvement in helping the rehabilitation of Cambodia and improving the living standards of our people, especially for educating and caring for the health of sick people. All Cambodian people will always remember the sincere contribution of Japan and France in Cambodian peace process as well as providing support to the Royal Government for the past years, especially their generous supports in health sector, including building hospitals, cooperation between hospitals and between medical science universities in Cambodia and in both Japan and France, providing medical equipments and providing scholarships to train professional doctors. All those supports are very important for Cambodia to be able to stand up. In fact, these donations, medical equipments and AIDS Consultation Center, which we are inaugurating and about to be officially opened for public, are the outputs that reflects good and close traditional relationships between Cambodia, Japan and France.
Indeed, after the stagnation almost of tree decades due to the prolonged civil war, Cambodia has gone through many difficulties and faced with many challenges during this past decade, which are obstacles in the process of rehabilitation and development of the country. However, because of the strong commitments together with the political will of the RG, we enable to successfully overcome those challenges and even have made proudly achievements that have positive influence to strengthen social cells, culture, peace, security, social order, democracy, respect of human right and dignity.
Initiated from this vision, RG continue to promote, in order to speed up, broaden and deepen, its reform process to ensure sustainable development and to contribute to faster poverty reduction. In this sense, Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has given a high priority towards social development, especially in improving health services to make it more efficient and be responsive to the people’s needs. In fact, for the cause of helping patients with HIV diseases to be able to live a normal life, the Preah Kosamak Hospital has gone trough many important stages and opening up a new chapter for its action, which is worth to be proud and the strong hope of Cambodian people.
Taking this opportunity, may I extend my congratulation and appreciation to all managements, doctors and staff of the Preah Kosamak Hospital for their efforts in rehabilitation of physical infrastructure such as building, medical equipments, professional training of staff aiming at providing a high quality of health services to the public.
The report of His Excellency Nuth Sokhom and the director of hospital have informed us that there are enough of trained human resources and appropriate equipments, but we still lack of suitable building. Responding to this need, on behalf of RG, I would like to ask the Ministry of Health to mobilize donor support or to propose national budget for building new centers in order for the Preah Kosamak Hospital to have capacity to transform into a modern hospital with ability to serve each and everyone. After the successful cooperation experience by the Calmette Hospital, the French counterpart continues to strengthen cooperation to support several other national hospitals in Phnom Penh such as the Preah Kosamak Hospital, Ang Doung Hospital and other provincial hospitals such as Kampong Cham, Takeo, Battambang, Siem Reap and Kampong Trabek Hospital in Prey Veng province. Through this experience, the Preah Kosamak Hospital has to exert effort to learn and follow this model by closely cooperating with French specialist, French and Australian surgeons and making effort to find additional support for instance from Korea.
At the same time, for the purpose of improving the prestige of medical professions and to obtain people confidences, may I take this opportunity to remind again to all doctors, physicians, pharmacists and nurses that even if we would have good buildings, adequate medical equipments, trained staff, sufficient drug supply, it still would not be enough. It requires good leader with management talent, the hard work of all staff with high responsibilities and conscious to care for patients, and willingness to perform their work according to technical and professional regulations. They should be kind, tolerant and concern for patients the same way as they would for their own parents or relatives. In this sense, I would like to extend my sincere appreciations to all doctors, physicians, nurses, staff and civil servants at the Kosamak Hospital for their hard and tireless work to serve people with great attention, even if there was not enough buildings, modern equipments and a low level of salaries.
Since 1998, we have attained a lot of achievement in health sector all over the country. The achievements include broadening the coverage of vaccine provision to children, eliminating polio disease, reducing malaria mortality rate, providing of Vitamin A, promoting of iodised salt, reducing leprosy infection rate, promoting awareness of HIV and reducing of HIV seroprevalence rate from 3.3% in 1997 to 2.1% in 2003. In this regard, Cambodia has been considered by international community to be a country that effectively implemented AIDS Combating Program. I also personally and actively participated in the program.
Last two years, Cambodians had infected by HIV in a concerned and alarmed number. No one believe that Cambodia was able to control the spread of HIV infection, but the efforts of government officials, supports of international communities and government counterpart funds have reduced HIV seroprevalence rate to 2.1%. Nevertheless, we should not be too proud with the outcome, as the AIDS disease cannot be treated. From 1990, the death of AIDS victim was 50 thousands, therefore we have to work out the way to prevent the spread of HIV infections that progressing into AIDS diseases through promoting public awareness on the risk of HIV infection, way of transmission and how to prevent the transmission. Ministry of Health and National AIDS Authority must take all necessary measures to prevent the spread of HID/AIDS through promoting “Friend educate Friend” program, 100% condom use program, sexual transmitted infections treatment program, direct education program for vulnerable group by implementing blood safety program and other supporting programs such as AIDS patient door to door treatment, hospitalized treatment and voluntary and confidential blood testing.
In short, there is still so much more work remains to be done. Once again, I would like to appeal to Ministry of Health and all hospitals to continue their efforts to work on those issues and minimize risks of negative impact in providing public health services. I also would like to appeal to health staff to adhere to morality and professional ethics in order to successfully achieve the health sector strategic plan 2003-2007. I strongly believe that this new building will significantly contribute to the achievement of my main ambitious of improving health sector in Cambodia.
Take this great opportunity, on behalf of government and myself, I would like to suggest some recommendations to enhance health care of Cambodian in the present and the future as follow:
1- The division and appointing health civil servant must response to the reality, target and skills. Do not assign work that is not suitable to their skills which is the waste of human resources, budget and time.
2- Ministry of Health must provide incentive to doctors, pharmacists and nurses for working in provinces, districts and rural areas.
3- I would like to appeal to doctors, pharmacists and nurses to volunteer to work in provinces and districts to save lives and improve health care of Cambodians.
4- Ministry of Health must seriously and strictly control drugs by effectively implementing the Law on Drug Management.
5- Ministry of Health must take immediate actions to supervise the enforcement of law and some circulars on pharmacy and drugstore management to facilitate the close co-operation with local authority and line ministries to assure the effectiveness of drug management and health care services provision.
6- Ministry of Health has to take immediate measures on private-owned clinics and do not allow non-certified physicians to provide health services. The ministry has to rigorously enforce laws and regulations on management of medical business such as Law on Management of professional business in medicine, medicine related businesses, and have to encourage physician committee to closely monitor the principle of morality, justice and honesty of medical profession.
Recently, I signed the request from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the health research in Cambodia, in which those research studies have to be seriously reviewed by the Government before allowing the preparation of the research project. Good experiences from the other countries should be followed in Cambodia because WHO’s network is coverage all over the world. This is the technical aspect; hence organizations or politicians should not take advantages of experiment in Cambodia. In this regard, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the organization of the “Doctors of the World” that has provided assistance to Cambodia since 1989 in Calmette Hospital and several provincial hospitals, especially to Mr. Pierre-Régis MARTIN, who makes effort to seek assistance from Japan, Elton Jhon Fund and Global Fund to support Preah Kosamak Hospital after the assistance from the organization “French Doctors of the World” has completed. I hope that he will continue to train Cambodian civil servants to take care and treat AIDS patient.
Once again, on behalf of the RG and Cambodian people, I would like to extend deep gratitude to Japan, France, Australia,National and International Organization as well as Cambodian health civil servants for their great contribution to the development and rehabilitation of Cambodia Health Sector to transform it to be what we currently have and they play important role in providing health care services, consultation services and health education services to Cambodian people both in the present and the future.
Finally, I wish you all Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen the five gems of Buddhist Blessing. In the opportunity of this meeting, I am please to declare the opening of “Construction Site of AIDS Treatment and Consultation Building in the Kosamak Hospital” from now on.