Your Venerable Monks,
Your Excellencies, the Ambassadors to the Kingdom of Cambodia,
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Today, I have a great honour and pleasure to join the inauguration of Royal Ratanak Hospital, a fantastic hospital. This hospital represents another achievement of private sector investment which Your Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen has exerted efforts to join hands with the government to extend the coverage and strengthen the quality of health sector of the Cambodia.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to convey my high appreciation to Her Excellency, Tao Teun Tea Banh, who is the initiator and owner of this hospital, for her insight on evolving need to mobilize human and financial resource and grab this opportunity to invest in Cambodia’s health sector. At the same time, I would like to express my most sincere compliments to the management, doctors, personnel and worker of the hospital who have tried their best to provide health check, cares, and treatment services to patients and make a big achievement of transforming one clinic into such a huge hospital. This action does not only raise the fame and enhance public trust on the hospital, but also for the whole Cambodia’s health sector.
Indeed, the efforts of Her Excellency and the management of the hospital will certainly help to widen the coverage and quality of health services as well as to respond to the spirit of the RGC’s Rectangular Strategy and the people needs to raise the welfare and reduce poverty of Cambodian people through the promotion of private investment which is the indispensable element for economic and social development of Cambodia. In this regard, the government has always takes a firm stance in promoting private sector development and always consider private sector as the engine of economic growth. The Royal Government is the strategist and manager of development whose duty is to ensure favourable business climate which is full of stability, transparency and predictability for private sector. In this connection, when the private sector believe in the leadership of the Royal Government, private investment will increase, more employments will be generated to banish poverty of the people and speed up the development process. Based on this philosophy, the Royal Government has been implementing a number of key policies such as the promotion of partnership between the government and private sector, reform for investment climate improvement, trade facilitation and the creation of favourable conditions to enable private sector’s participation in the construction of infrastructure, financial sector and SMEs development.
After the 7th January 1979, the whole health sector has been totally destroyed. At that time, starting from the scratch and amid of war ashes, we had gathered surviving doctors to re-institutionalize our health system. During that time, the Royal Government had exerted its utmost effort to overcome ten of thousands of obstacles, in that, we had resumed the operation of commune/sangkat infirmaries, district/khan health centres and municipal/provincial hospitals to provide health consultation, examination and care, and treatment to the people as much as we could. At that time as well as at the present, the Royal Government always considers the health sector as the priority sector in the process of poverty reduction.
In this spirit, the Royal Government has paid great attention on health sector by cooperating with development partners and other international agencies and encouraging the private sector, and made prideful achievements. Referred to the Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey for 2000-2005 and Statistical Year Book in 2006 of the Ministry of Planning, we had trained 16,055 of health clerks by 1990 from a number that we could even count with our fingers after the 7th January 1979. Because of our determination, this number reached 17,125 in 2005. By 2006 the number of public health institutions reached 1,086 among which 8 national hospitals were located in Phnom Penh and 1,078 health centres were situated across provinces. These improvements significantly contributed to the reduction of child mortality rate by around 6% per annum since 2000. This reduction rate is 2-3 times faster than the rate achieved by other developing countries during 1999-2005.
As the number of clinics, hospitals and health centres increases, we have strengthened the quality of health sector through modernizing equipments and facilities and we have also paid great attention on the development of human resources in this sector. We have offered training to health staff and officials from low-level of midwifery and nursery to high-level of medical doctor, dentist and pharmacist. There have been many graduates and they are now providing health services at clinics, hospitals and health centres to our people across the country. In order to improve the specialization in some fields, we have sent students and interns abroad for training and perfection programs. Therefore, from year to year the quality of our health sector has been constantly strengthened and improved. At the same time, reproductive health, maternal health, nutrition, communicative diseases such as HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis, malaria and polio have been significantly improved.
At the same time, we are already prepared to prevent and reduce to the minimum, the impact of disasters due to the widespread diseases such as malaria, bird flu, and cattle diseases that has occur in some countries and the Asia Pacific and Cambodia has experienced some of the symptoms. Risks from such transmitted diseases continue to exist in developing countries that have not completely dealt with them. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare and be ready in providing consultation services and cares, offering diagnosis and treatment to general and vulnerable people and increase the public awareness.
Our health sector has made general progress, but the quality of consultation, checkups, and treatment services are still limited. Even though the child and maternal mortality rate have been reduced, the rate remains high relative to neighbouring countries. Moreover, we are facing new challenges such as professional ethics, number of doctors, means and techniques for diagnostics and treatments, bird flu, accidents and other transmitted diseases. In this regards, we still have a lot more works that need to be done. Therefore, I would like to appeal to the Ministry of Health as well as both private and public hospitals to continue their effort and reduces to the minimum level, the negative aspect that could lead to the adverse impacts on health service delivery. And, I would like to appeal to all health staffs to always maintain good moral and conscious of medical professional in order to achieve the objectives of health strategy introduced by the Royal Government. I believe that the Royal Ratanak Hospital that we inaugurate today will contribute to my primary ambition to improve the health of Cambodian people.
Once again, I highly appreciate and compliment Her Excellency, the owner of the Royal Ratanak Hospital, as well as the management and staffs of the hospital who join hands with the Royal Government to develop health sector in Cambodia and I would like to wish the Royal Ratanak Hospital constant progress.
Finally, I would like to wish Your Venerable Monks, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen with Five Gems of Buddhist Blessing and I would like to declare the official opening of the Royal Ratanak Hospital from now on.