Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen National and International Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Professors, Doctors and Students,
It is a great honor and pleasure for me to attend the official inauguration of the faculty of pharmacy Building, which is funded by the Pierre Fabre and Christophe Merieux, and Diploma Awarding Ceremony for 484 students who have just graduated from Medical University. This accomplishment reflects the consideration of international communities to continue to support and assist Cambodia. The school building and students who are graduating today is the valuable contribution toward building human resources in health sector, which contributes to the implementation of political agenda of the Royal Government (RGC) in its efforts to build a healthy and developed nation.
I would like to take this opportunity to give warm congratulations to all students who are just graduated. On behalf of the RGC and on my own behalf, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to International Communities and National and International Organizations for their contributions to the economic and social development especially in health sector. Most importantly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Pierre Fabre and Christophe Merieux Foundation for the valuable gift of the Faculty of Pharmacy to the RGC as well as for the people of Cambodia.
At the same time I would like to express my high consideration and thankfulness to the management of the Ministry of Health, rectors, professors and officials for their joined efforts in constructing some major accomplishments for the nation as stated in the report by HE Vu Kimpo, Rector of the Medical University. And finally, but not less, I would like to admire and congratulate our students who had struggled to gain this success.
As we all know well that Cambodia’s health-related human resource development institutions has been developed for a long time and the University of Health Science is the oldest university of all. It plays an important and leading role in training medical doctors, who then have delivered preventive and curative health services to the public at large in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Until now we have large buildings of the Faculty of Medicine equipped with adequate lab facilities, where the national teaching staff works. Thousands of medical doctors were graduated from this university to work in all corners of Cambodia. The Government is proud that the health sector has developed in proportion with population growth to meet the needs for preventive care and treatment.
The health sector has experienced notable development during the last 20 years, thanks to the tremendous efforts deployed by the RGC since 1979. Health services have been strengthened and expanded to communes and villages throughout Cambodia. Since 1996, RGC has introduced organizational and financial reforms with the view to strengthening the health system and improving access by the poor living in rural areas to quality services through the implementation of decentralization and provision of a comprehensive primary health care (PHC). Several generations of students in medicine, pharmacy and dentistry have graduated from the University of Health Science and from overseas Universities and worked in all corners of the country.
Indeed, this achievement is possible thanks to our common efforts, especially direct participation of the management of the Ministry of Health, the rectors, professors and teaching staff, the yearning for learning of all the students and the assistance provided by the international community, including national and international organizations.
We have always considered that the health sector is the most important priority sector in social and economic rehabilitation and development in Cambodia. After the liberation of our nation from the yoke of genocide in January 1979, we set out four priorities for national rehabilitation and development – road, water supply, electricity and human resources. These are still current issues in Cambodia. The priority of developing human resources is geared towards providing education and ensuring health services for the population.
At present, the RGC still considers the health of the population as the most important agenda in response its agenda for the poverty alleviation and implementation of reforms in all sectors. The RGC has set clear direction in the following areas:
(i) provide basic health services to all people, especially those who are involved in the community lives;
(ii) improve equity and accessibility to basic health services with good quality and efficiency;
(iii) specifically target women, children, elderly and disabled people; and
(iv) implement decentralization of financial and administrative functions
In this sense the RGC has endeavored to expand the coverage and improve quality of health services, especially to encourage qualified doctors to work in the countryside. At the same time the RGC has scrupulously implemented the health budget reform by incorporating first the health sector into the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Priority Action Program (PAP) in order to ensure budget sustainability and timely disbursement to the sector.
During the last four years, the government’s strategy has focused on the increase in health budget. Budget disbursement to the health sector increased more than threefold between 1998 and 2002. During the next three years, the RGC plans to double the budget for health through the MTEF in order to meet the basic need of the population, especially to address the problem of malnutrition in remote areas. In this sense, the health budget will increase from 43 billion CRs or 0.42% of GDP in 1998 to around 300 billion CRs in 2005, accounting for 1.6% of GDP or 13% of current budget. Therefore, as the Head of Government, I am proud to announce that the RGC of the second term in office id “the Government that takes care of the people’s health”. I am committed to continue this policy in the next term of office if the Cambodian people will entrust me with leading the Royal Government.
The RGC considers competent and healthy human resources as the most sine qua non condition for development and securing the country’s competitiveness in the 21st century, which is an age of globalization and regionalization, enriched by the progress in information technology and telecommunications. Cambodia has embraced an open economic and social policy in order to integrate itself into the regional and world community. This requires the availability of highly qualified and creative human resources, as well as the use of technology and new scientific discovery to ensure the sustainability of social and economic development.
In this context the implementation of an open health policy has become a driving force that attracts the private sector to take an active part in delivering health services to the people in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Private clinics and hospitals have sprung up like mushrooms after the rain. They have expanded and got better and better in terms of number and quality. More importantly these are equipped with experienced technical staff and medical facilities in response to Cambodia’s openness and integration into the region.
The market economy has enabled the private sector participation in human resource development in all sectors, including the health sector. The RGC believes that free and fair competition will lead to effective and fruitful training and service delivery. Therefore, the University of Health Science needs to prepare itself by improving the management, technical training, equipment and facilities for conducting research to meet the increasing need of the nation and the perpetual change in market demand for human resources. This will help us ensure the supremacy and competitive advantages in training high quality human resources. Improving the quality of health services can be achieved by transferring to students knowledge, know-how and internationally recognized qualifications recognized by the labor market, including the state institutions, civil society and the private sector. This is critical in ensuring the success and sustainability of health services in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
In this spirit, I once again request the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Health to work closely to prepare and check the quality standards of human resource development in the health sector. At present, there are many newly established private universities, institutes and colleges, including those providing training in medicine and health services. Medicine is complicated science. Each and every medical doctor and specialist bears high responsibility for the health and life of people who are in need for health care and treatment services. Therefore, each institution is obliged to provide highly qualified teaching staff, infrastructure and facilities, such as room, laboratory equipment, etc. They should have adequate practical experience to ensure good quality training.
I believe that this is a good opportunity for you to be graduated during such a time that Cambodia is undertaking economic and social reform. You are now very knowledgeable and will soon get your graduation certificate. You will leave the university and go to work to get on with this profession and life long career. In this sense I would like to take this opportunity to give some advice to all 484 graduates that they use knowledge acquired in their studies to serve good cause, observe the code of conduct as a good doctor or pharmacist so that our nation and people can rely on. You have to have the following four principles in your profession:
First, honesty, i.e. you should be honest and face with reality;
Second, compassion, i.e. you should have pity and love other people, and care about them. This is the most important quality for those who practice medicine and pharmacy.
Third, patience, i.e. you should be patient and resilient in both your work and your life.
Fourth, gratitude, i.e. you should be grateful to your parents, teachers and nation.
I hope that with guidance of the rector and vice rector, as well as the training provided by your professors and your own efforts during the last 6 years, you have become a member of the society, who have established profession and morale in your livelihood.
Once again, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to friendly countries, the international community, national and international organizations, the management and officials of the health sector, who have actively participated in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the health sector in Cambodia, resulting in significant progress and improvement over the last 20 years.
In conclusion, I would like to extend to you all, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the five gems of Buddhist wishes. I wish all of the graduates good health and success in their jobs and their future. I sincerely thank all of you for your attention.