It is a great pleasure indeed that I have returned today with the Ambassador of Japan HE Katsuhiro Shinohara to put into use a new achievement relating to our people’s health and also to our people’s communication. First I would like to talk about the Mongkul Borei Referral Hospital (MBRH) that we inaugurate today. By June 15, 2006, or less than a year ago, I came here with former Ambassador of Japan HE Takahashi Fumiaki to officiate this construction, and in less than a year this beautiful building is complete. It is indeed a new achievement which adds on to various Japanese assistances to the Kingdom of Cambodia.
HE Katsuhiro Shinohara has just mentioned in Khmer that he is a Japanese citizen who knows about this hospital in the 1960s as he was at that time a student in the Royal University of Phnom Penh. He not only knows Khmer but also Sanskrit. He used to visit this hospital in those days. It has been now 43 years since the hospital operated in 1964. This hospital has cost us 6 million US dollars in putting it back into working condition again.
Taking this auspicious occasion I would convey through the Ambassador of Japan the greatest and deepest thanks of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia to the Government and people of Japan for their continuous assistance – which includes also this achievement today. Next Monday, which is a week from now, we will put into use another achievement that is also sponsored by Japan.
The MBRH is indeed responding to our people’s increasing need for wellbeing. HE Nut Sokhom, Minister of Health, reported of what have been equipped here and ranked this hospital as the most modern of its kind in rural community which hopefully would reduce our people’s poverty. We have scored various achievements so far because we have attained peace thanks to win-win policy which put an end to conflicts and war-inflicted destruction while improving the country’s infrastructure. In light of this we have developed our country at a gradual step.
Take for example HE Okinawa, the former Japanese Ambassador visited this place since 2001 so as to conduct a feasibility study and to review the Japanese aid package for Cambodia and it requires our a long time. We have signed this deal in August 2005. This hospital, as it was a referral one, was not able to perform complicated operation because serious operations had to be sent for provincial hospital.
The hospital renovation has indeed been responding to our people’s need as they do not have to travel far, in addition to bad road condition, for treatment as before. This achievement will help alleviate poverty not only for our people in Mongkul Borei but also neighboring districts – take for instance Malai, Bovel, Kamreang and Phnom Proek districts.
I am sure that today’s achievements make our hospital and medical staff happy and hope that they will do the best they can to take care of materials provided for this hospital while making efforts to provide effective care and treatment to patients. Having modernly equipped referral hospital, good doctors and medical staff is good enough to deal with health issue but each individual citizen has to make health protection by oneself. Take for instance, HIV/AIDS does not have a cure and hospital cannot do that. Each one of us has to stay away from HIV/AIDS. If one is to be infected because of reckless behavior, there is no way of curing this disease.
We all have to be careful and protect ourselves because a community, a family would start from a person and if each one of us is taking precaution for own self then these assistances would be effective too. We still have a long way to go to bring down maternity and birth death rate. I would urge our people to pay attention to their children because Dengue fevers time has come. We have to take precaution against mosquito that bring with them Dengue virus.
The Japanese assistance to Cambodia has been direct and responding to our need. Take for instance today’s achievement of a referral hospital would help our people with their healthcare issue and I would sincerely thank the construction company for completing the construction and installing equipment in a short time. The Japanese hold on the money that is provided as its assistance to Cambodia. We do not see the money but we receive what we have asked for. How come some politicians say the Royal Government is being corrupted?
In the recent past we have some problems with the World Bank and we have come to a thought that perhaps it is easier for us to let them implement projects themselves while we should just wait for the project to be completed and we get what we are asking for. Then they say that’s not a standard way of doing thing with the World Bank as the latter would only involve in procurement phase only.
I would inform you also that on June 14, I would be away from the country for two weeks to conduct an official visit to Japan where I will have discussions in relation to development, investment, tourism, etc. I would not hesitate to beg for more assistance.
We have just crossed a bridge which I authorized the construction at our people’s request and the Ministry of Public Works and Transports has made great efforts to get it built before the Khmer New Year. Now sick people on the other side of the river of Mongkul Borei could also easily cross the river to get medical treatment on this side.
In this occasion too, please allow me to convey my sympathy to our people in all districts of the province of Banteay Mean Chey for their flood affected condition because of heavy downpour. The district of Mongkul Borei is the worst flood hit district with severe damages according to figure provided to me by HE Chan Sarun, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forest. It has 79,000 hectares of land under damage out of total 15,159 hectares in the whole province.
Indeed we rarely see any downpour in the month of May. Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar are suffering similar state of weather condition. In Banteay Mean Chey, flood normally takes its course in the month of August or September, but this time it has its unexpected flood took place in May. I have advised the National Committee for Disaster Management to take precautious measures for any unexpected natural disaster while those relevant institutions have to cooperate with the provincial authority of Banteay Mean Chey to conduct a study on waterway if there are any natural or man-made hindrances to water flow. I would advise the Ministries of Agriculture, and Water Resources to conduct a study on this issue.
Flood water recedes now and we have to take follow-up actions and special attention has to be paid on rice re-cultivation and anywhere rice could not be grown we have to divert our attention to other commercial crops. Though it has been too late already for floating rice but we also have other areas where our people could still grow rice. The Ministry of Health should also be involved in monitoring and providing healthcare and assistance in relation not just to humans but also animals. Once water recedes there are always water-born diseases for both human and animal.
I would urge flood prone provinces to keep in mind their safe high grounds in case of need especially pagodas where there is normally high ground. Evacuation in case of emergency should be conducted in a careful manner and that would not cause dangers or hardships to pregnant ladies and children. I would consider this as a word of warning for everyone to be vigilant because at this speed if it were to come from Komnpong Speu province, at the western part of Phnom Penh, our city dwellers would also be in great difficulty too.
On that occasion Samdech Hun Sen offered ten computers and accessories to MBRH, a 20 kilometer lateride road from O Smeat in the communeof O Prasat to Tamao in the commune of Soeur, and a rural road of 3,228 meters from the village of Sdei Leou to the village of Ta Nong.