Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have a great honor and pleasure to join you all in the closing of this 25th Health Conference!
On behalf of the Royal Government and myself, may I extend my warmest congratulation and appreciation for the efforts and outcomes that the management and staff of the ministry have attained during the past year 2003 in implementing the RGC’s agenda and reform programs, especially the implementation of Health Strategic Plan 2003-2007.
I have observes that the health conference have been well organized and held regularly, highlighting the progress and achievement as well as the potential opportunities. This has also provided forum for the discussions of set measures aimed at finding ways to solve various issues that helps improve the health status of our people and ensure effective delivery of health service. In addition, I am also convinced that all the members of the conference have been very proactive in the discussion and have provided many recommendations and advices which are very useful for the development of health sector in Cambodia. This especially presents an ample opportunity for dialogues and exchange of experiences among the physicians, pharmacists and all the health personnel and staff in order to reach our humanitarian objective and for the benefit of all Cambodian people.
With all these efforts, I strongly hope the conference would help promote the profession and ethics of our medical doctors, pharmacists and that of all the health personnel in term of morality, humanity, effectivity and the quality of service for the benefit of all Cambodian people, the sustainable development and the poverty reduction among our people.
Indeed, poverty reduction could not be achieved through an economic growth alone, as enhanced social development is also important for improved social equity which contributes to the elimination of gaps and disparity in the society as well as increasing the capacity and opportunities for our people so that they can effectively participate in the development of the national economy. Thus in this sense, for a strong and solid society it requires well educated, culturally vibrant and healthy population, as well as reduction of poverty and other diseases. All these efforts should go in hands with the adherence to democratic principles and social justice which provide opportunity for each member of the society to progress based on their merit and potential in order to contribute to promoting economic growth and sustainable development.
Thus, the provision of good health service would positively contributes to economic development, as this service is key determinant of increased productivity, employment, the levels of investment and savings through citizens’ better performance in their education and professions.
The experience of countries in the region show clearly that the improvement in health status is one among key factors that created the “miracle of East Asian economies”, though good health alone is not sufficient for generating higher economic growth. Thus, I would like to indicate that the health policy of the RGC does not focus only on the economic aspects, however, it is our strong will to take care both of health issues and to improve the living of our people to be prosper.
In this sense, the Royal Government considers the strengthening of capacity and focus o population health as top priority to respond to the agenda of poverty reduction and the implementation of reform programs in all sectors. In this context, the Royal Government has increased the allocation of public resource and foreign aids as well as provided more incentives for private sector to increase their investment in the health sector, aimed at improving the health of our people through health education, treatments and prevention of diseases in urban and rural areas to reduce the infant and maternal mortality rates and prevention of all types transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and others. Moreover, key priorities for this sector include the focus on gradual construction of referral hospitals and health centers across the country that can ensure sustainable, effective and equitable provision of basic health services to all citizens, especially the poor and vulnerable groups of people. Thus, the Royal Government has made use of all the possibilities to increase basic and more professional health services at appropriate level, including initial focus on change of service providers’ attitude and increase of quality through strengthened effectiveness of human resource utilization, management planning, distribution and improvement in capacity of staff and health personnel.
Moreover, the Royal Government has committed to enforcing the effective formulation and implementation of laws and regulations related to health sector that is to ensure higher standards in the provision of health service and medicines, safe supply of foods, as well as to promote effective use of health information and data for implementation and monitoring of the plan.
Indeed, after our hard and utmost efforts in the last few years, we have achieved considerable results in improving the well-being of our people, bringing many positive changes. However, there are a lot works need to be done to reach the standards of health status and population comparable to more developed countries in the region, especially on the mortality rate of mothers and children, because the lack of nutrition and poverty, the issues of effectiveness in health service delivery, as well as that of human resource and the limited knowledge among our people about health service.
Being aware of all the situations, the Royal Government has adopted Health Strategic Plan 2003-2007 which clearly defines all the resource available for health sector, either from domestic or foreign sources, or from private sector that will be used to improve the health status of overall people and the poor through the provision of quality and equitable health service with any discrimination in term of sex or age, the improved quality of financing for health, the development of human resource and institutions which is aimed to develop a sustainable health system, to improve health of Cambodian people especially the poor and vulnerable who live in the remote areas. Moreover, this strategy will further promote opportunities in receiving health service among poor Cambodians and those who live in the rural areas through further development of health infrastructure, construction of building and providing of priority public health service.
To achieve all these targets, the policy of the Royal Government will continue to focus on the following priorities:
1. Plan location of health bases that is effective and reaches the poor and the rural people, combined with strengthened technical capacity of health personnel across the country by motivating them to take good care of poor people in rural areas and feasible provision of incentives such as allowance.
2. Strengthen close cooperation with line ministries and institutions concerned, especially the Ministry of Economy and Finance in order to increase the release of cash payment to operational provinces and districts that need the most.
3. Ensure transparency and accountability in implementing the health strategic plan with line ministries/institutions concerned, with donor countries and community, and the NGOs as well as with the private sector and the civil society.
4. Follow up and evaluate the achievements in health sector effectively to ensure the implementation of the RGC’s common objective as planned. Indeed, throughout our experiences there is still a lack of mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation of the progress in implementation of the strategic plan yet. Thus, the MOH shall focus on establishing an effective arrangement for this tasks with close cooperation with concerned line ministries and institutions.
In the context of implementing the above policy, the Royal Government will try its best to gradually increase the budget both in term of current and capital expenditure for the health sector.
I believe, in this 25th Health Conference, we have very productive and proactive discussions and have contributed many recommendations and advices, especially the exchange of good experience among physicians, pharmacists, staffs and health personnel in the cause of health sector development in Cambodia, as well as for the objective of humanity and common interest for all our people.
I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that health profession is the most honored and humanitarian practices in the world, but these honored and humanitarian aspects need to be based on honesty and professional moral. In this respect, if any physicians, pharmacists, staffs and health personnel who conduct immorally and unconsciously, they would be disregarded. For this reason, strict adoption of the physician code of conduct, health service delivery and saving human life are the basis of an honored moral profession and high sense of humanity.
I strongly hope that the result of the 25th Health Conference would boost the improvement of physicians, pharmacists, staffs and health personnel profession and code of conduct both in moral and humanitarian sense and in work efficiency and quality for the benefit of all Cambodian people, the sustainable development and poverty reduction in Cambodia.
Before ending, may I appeal to all the development partners of Cambodia, international NGOs and the private sector to provide cooperation and supports to the Ministry of Health in improving health sector and people’s health.
Once again, may I express my profound thanks to all national ministries and institutions, the civil society, private sector, international organizations as well as NGOs who have actively cooperated in developing the health sector in Cambodia. At the end, let me wish you all, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the five gems of the Buddhist wishing. I declare the closing of the 25th Health Conference.