Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, it is a great honor and pleasure for me to join you all, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, in the fifth anniversary of the “Angkor-Seam Reap Pediatric Hospital” and in inaugurating the new building for an administrative office of the hospital and a health education center in our Seam Reap province.
I have learned that “Angkor-Seam Reap Pediatric Hospital” is not just one of modern pediatric hospitals in the Kingdom of Cambodia, but it is the first hospital which has opened to provide services to children in Seam Reap. The hospital has been in operation for five years and helped over 200,000 children. Among others, some children came from the neighboring provinces of Seam Reap, such as from Banteay Meanchey, Oddor Meanchey, Battambang and Kompong Thom.
On the occasion of this grand gathering, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the parents of all the children who received health care in this hospital, allow me to express our profound gratitude to Mr. Kenro Izu, President of the “Friends without a Border”, who initiated to mobilize thousands of generous people from around the world, especially Japanese, Americans who have mentally, physically and financially contributed to the construction of this modern hospital and fully covered the cost of operation since 1999.
May I take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to all the generous people who present here, and to others donors who are regrettably not able to come for this event.
Particularly, I would like to thank the Venerable Houmyo Saito and Dr. Masumi Kamachi, each of them has contributed USD 3,500,000 respectively for the construction and operation of the hospital, and they have planned to finance the operation of this hospital for the next four years. My thanks also go to the Japanese Government which contributed, through the Embassy of Japan in Phnom Penh, a 100 kwa power generator and other equipments for the hospital.
As we are all well aware, the prolong war and political instability for the last few decades left Cambodia with very poor public services and infrastructure. The Genocide Regime of Pol Pot destroyed the national health system completely.
After the liberation of 7th January 1979, we started to mobilize doctors and health staff who survived to reorganize a national health system. The period between 1980 and 1989 was the time for rehabilitation of the whole national health system including physical infrastructure, management structure, and human resource. During the period, many health staffs were trained; health service system was institutionalized, financed and equipped with facilities and with skilled staffs at all levels, from national, provincial, district hospitals to commune health centers. All national programs, such as programs on tuberculosis, malaria, dairies, polios and nutrition, have been implemented vertically within the whole health system.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to all officials and staff of the Ministry of Health who have made their utmost efforts physically and mentally in fulfilling their valuable duties for the cause of rehabilitation and development of national health system, and attaining great achievements and improvements of the health system in Cambodia. Taking also this opportunity, on behalf of the people and the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to sincerely thank all donor partners for their valuable contribution in all forms, including financial and technical assistance, in their efforts of rehabilitation and development of health sector.
As I have mentioned, good delivery of health service will positively contribute to the economic development. This health service is key to increased labor productivity, investment and the level of saving through people’s better attainment of result in education and better performance at work.
In this sense, the Royal Government considers capacity building and people’s health as the top priority agenda in the response to the poverty reduction and the implementation of reform programs in all sectors. Thus, the Royal Government has exerted its utmost efforts to promote the participation of NGOs and private sector in providing health education, health care and disease prevention activities in urban and rural areas, aimed at reducing mortality rate of children and maternity and preventing all kinds of infected diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Indeed, we have substantially and notably achieved in the improvement of people’s welfare. However, we still have many works to do in order to reach the standard of health compared with more developed countries in the region. Being well aware of this situation and demand, the Royal Government has officially announced the Strategic Plan for Health Sector 2003-2007, which provides a common framework for all partners of the Government in its health development for 2003-2007. This plan spells out the strategy for health service delivery, behavioral change, quality improvement of health financing, human resource and institutional development, with the objective to effectively develop health sector in order to enhance health of Cambodian people, especially the poor and people living in the remote areas.
Taking this opportunity, allow me to recall my recommendations, which I raised once on the occasion of the official dissemination of the Strategic Plan for Health Sector for the attention of the management and all heath officials and staffs:
First, intensify the capacity building of all health officials across the country; encourage them to serve the poorest people in the remote areas; and find ways to reward them with incentives according to their performance;
Second, work more closely with other concerned ministries to improve the disbursement of health funds to the provinces and Operational Districts where there are of dire needs;
Third, ensure the transparency and the ownership in the implementation of national plan with other sectors as well as with the private sector;
Fourth, effectively monitor and evaluate the performance of the plan making sure that the targets are met while responding to the overall objectives of the government.
I would like to emphasize that the joint contribution made by “the Friends without a Border” and all generous people to the construction of the pediatric hospital and health education center helps improve not only the welfare of our children, but also provides many jobs to nurses and other Cambodian personnel, up to 147 people. More importantly, our doctors, nurses and young medicine staffs also have good opportunity to learn and draw lessons from the experiences working in health care with foreign experts who help us in this hospital. All these are the valuable contribution, which well responds to the prime objective of the Royal Government in human resources development in the health sector.
In closing, I would like to express my profound appreciation to all health staffs, nurses, and foreign and Cambodian personnel who have collaborated very well in their works to serve children over the last five years.
Once again, I would like to thank the Ministry of Health, Ministries and Institutions concerned, national and international organizations, civil society and private sector who have made their utmost efforts in enhancing the health sector, improving health of people which are a great contribution to the poverty reduction in Cambodia, especially their good collaboration with “the Friends without a Border” and our “the Angkor-Seam Reap Pediatric Hospital”.
Finally, Let me end by extending to you all, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the five gems of Buddhist wishes.
On this happiest occasion, may I join you to celebrate the Fifth Anniversary of the operation of “the Angkor-Seam Reap Pediatric Hospital” and I declare the opening of the health education center.