Venerable Samdech Preah Pothivong Am Lim Heng, Second Deputy Chief Monk of the Kingdom of Cambodia,
Venerable Samdech Preah Reachea Kanak and Venerable Monks,
Excellency Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,
Excellencies, Ambassadors to the Kingdom of Cambodia
Excellencies, Lok Oknha, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished international and local guests,
Beloved Compatriots and students!
Today, it is my pleasure to attend the official inauguration ceremony of the Cho Ray-Phnom Penh Hospital. Once again, I would like to extend a warm welcome to His Excellency Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the delegation, who are now participating in this important ceremony. This newly built hospital truly attests to the reinforcement of cooperation between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Taking this auspicious opportunity, I would like to request Excellency Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung to relay the deep gratitude of the Royal Government and People of Cambodia to the Government and People of Vietnam for supporting Cambodia under all circumstances, especially in liberating Cambodia from the genocidal regime of Democratic Kampuchea, in the cause of promoting economic growth, social development and poverty reduction in Cambodian. Indeed, Vietnam continues to support the development of all sectors of Cambodia to date, including, but not limited to bilateral cooperation, capacity building for civil servants and public institutions, road construction, investment, trade, and improvement to education, agriculture, tourism, mine and energy sectors so on and so forth. Recently, Vietnamese investors have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into local investment projects and topped the list of investing countries in Cambodia during the global economic crisis. Furthermore, Cambodia-Vietnam bilateral trade reached USD 2,700 million during the first nine months of 2013, and we hope the figure will reach USD 5,000 million in 2015. Vietnam is considered an important bilateral trade partner of Cambodia in the region. In addition, we will further strive to attract one million Vietnamese tourists to visit Cambodia in 2014, following the reception of 0.7 million and 0.8 million Vietnamese tourists in 2012 and 2013 respectively. This indeed contributes to responding to the needs of Cambodian people and creating a favorable environment for Cambodia’s integration into the world, at both regional and global level, on equal footing and with equal rights as other nations.
At this point, I would like to note that after the liberation of Cambodia from genocidal regime of Democratic Kampuchea on January 07, 1979, Cambodia was at full throttle in addressing all development challenges, including the restoration and development of health sector which has been totally destroyed by war. By starting with bare hands and ruins of war, we managed to re-open infirmary at commune/sangkat level, health center at district/khan level and hospital at province level to provide healthcare to the people to the best of our ability with strong support from the Vietnamese counterpart. This sector has indeed experienced gradual progress ever since. Taking this opportunity, I would like to highly value those who work in the Ministry of Health, infirmary, health center and hospital, development partners and concerned organizations for working together to prepare policies and action plans of the health sector aimed to enhance the effectiveness of healthcare. All these not only enhance the credibility of and public confidence in the health system, but also contribute to realizing the vision of the “Rectangular Strategy” for growth, employment, equity and efficiency. Without a doubt, progress made in health sector is the prerequisite condition for socio-economic development and poverty reduction.
Overall, despite some notable achievements in the health sector, Cambodia still faces a number of challenges such as relatively high maternal and infant mortality rates and child malnutrition compared to other countries in the region while the coverage and quality of healthcare fall short of the need of our people. In this context, the Royal Government of the fifth legislature of the National Assembly will update and step up the implementation of the “Health Strategic Plan 2008-2015” in order to promote sustainable development of the health sector aimed at improved sanitation, health, well-being and nutrition of Cambodian people, especially of the poor and the vulnerable, women and children.
It is without doubt that the opening of this hospital will contribute to enhancing the well-being and livelihood of the people, poverty reduction and socio-economic development. According to report, Cambodia will receive substantial benefits from this hospital. The USD 39 million Cho Ray-Phnom Penh Hospital, a product of the first phase of investment, will become a modern hospital that can provide medical service of international standards to both Cambodians and foreigners in Cambodia. This shows that Cambodia now has modern hospitals with international quality, effectiveness and comfort standards for providing medical service domestically to Cambodian people so that they can save money and time on travelling overseas to seek medical service. This would not only enhance public trust in Cambodia’s health sector, but also promote economic efficiency and prestige of the Kingdom of Cambodia. In addition, Cambodia will receive greater benefits after this hospital moved on to the second phase of investment.
This achievement is indeed another contribution to the development of Cambodia’s health sector while the Royal Government is working hard to improve the well-being of the people. The government has strived to build more hospitals and health centers and provide them with facilities, equipment, medicines and medical staff with appropriate skill aimed to enhance both coverage and quality of healthcare. This investment project also reflects the progress of partnerships between the public sector and private sector that has been strongly encouraged and regarded as the Locomotive of Economic Growth. Hence, the realization of this investment project has highlighted the secure investment climate in Cambodia. This hospital is indeed a valuable contribution to ensuring the well-being of the Cambodian people as well as progress and sustainability of the health sector. The Royal Government of Cambodia will further encourage private sector participation in health sector to enhance the coverage and quality of healthcare for the people, improve the attitudes of healthcare providers, strengthen specialization and competency of doctors and medical staff, and strengthen governance and the use of information system in the health sector and so on. I strongly believe that the two countries will continue the close, honest and mutually beneficial cooperation within bilateral, sub-regional and regional frameworks in order to solidify our traditional friendship and good neighborliness.
All of the aforementioned clearly show that Cambodia is moving forward with solid foundation for supporting economic growth and social development in the long term. Furthermore, the Royal Government has been playing an active role in ensuring a good business and investment climate to ensure stability, transparency and predictability for supporting private sector development. On this basis, on behalf of the Royal Government I highly praise Ho Chi Minh City Medical Investment Joint Stock Company (MECO.JSC) and SOK KONG Import Export Co., Ltd for the joint effort to realize this project. In addition, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage this hospital to continue exploring new means and strategies to change the public perception of Cambodia’s health sector so that people will start using domestic medical service instead of going abroad for the service. In addition, competition in Cambodia’s health sector is now more intense than ever before, hence it is necessary for this hospital to keep improving and modernizing itself in order to respond to evolution of diseases, provide accurate medical diagnosis at affordable cost and so on.
In order to promote Cambodia’s healthcare in general, I would like to remind all doctors and health personnel providing medical service to have good attitude and follow profession ethics when interacting with people or patients by firmly adhering to virtuous and moral behaviors and regarding yourselves as the guardians of patients to enhance public trust and confidence in you, help make the health sector an effective social safety net and ensure the sustainability of Cambodia’s health sector development. At the same time, each hospital must keep improving medical research by strengthening and expanding cooperation with the University of Health, private sector, professional organizations and associations, research units of the Ministry of Health and other hospitals in order to share experiences and promote development of health sector in Cambodia. Moreover, I strongly urge all hospitals and clinics to join hands to eliminate counterfeit and sub-quality medicines and equipment that could put patients at greater risk. At this point, the Ministry of Health and related institutions must increase attention in order to ensure the public well-being and poverty reduction of the people.
In general, providing medical service in a delicate manner and with great sense of responsibility can change public perception so that people will seek the service domestically. As a result, public confidence and economic efficiency in health sector will be enhanced along with acceleration of economic growth and promotion of national prestige. I would like to encourage all levels of civil servants and medical staff throughout the country to put further effort in order to achieve more substantial progress in restoring and expanding basic infrastructure in the health sector, institutional capacity building and human resources development to lay the foundation for expanding health service coverage to respond to the need of the people nationwide.
On this occasion, once again, I would like to further encourage Vietnamese investment and business community to come and explore possibility of investing in Cambodia. In this sense, I strongly believe that experienced Vietnamese investors and businesspeople can successfully grab new investment opportunities in Cambodia, following the implementation of some successful projects such as agricultural processing, rubber, fertilizer factory, hydropower, telecommunications, finance and banking, mine, tourism and aviation, especially the establishment of this Choray-Phnom Penh Hospital. I would like to highlight that Cambodia still has enormous underexploited investment opportunities, especially in agriculture, agro-industry, infrastructure, labor-intensive industry, extractive industry including oil and gas, and tourism sectors. On behalf of the Royal Government, I have always stated that Cambodia welcome investors, business people regardless of race/nationality and will continue to ensure favorable investment and business environment to accelerate growth.
Once again, I would like to encourage the Ho Chi Minh Medical Investment Joint Stock Company (MECO.JSC) and SOK KONG Import Export Co., Ltd to put more effort into the expansion of physical infrastructure, development of institutional and human capacity to support the expansion of health service coverage and respond timely to the need of health service of the people throughout the country. I strongly believe that the cooperation between both countries will continue in all sectors for the cause of creating new opportunities that are the impetus for achieving collective prosperity and greater friendship and neighborliness.
Finally, together with the official inauguration of the “Choray-Phnom Penh Hospital” today, I would like to wish Samdech, venerable monks, and H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung and His Delegation, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, national and international guests, compatriots and all students the four gems of Buddhist blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Healthiness and Strength./.
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