Speaking at the inauguration of a hospital in Preah Sihanouk province yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen took the opportunity to defend Cambodia’s oft-maligned doctors, saying that while some may fall short, people shouldn’t “let the smell of one bad fish ruin all of the fish in the bag”.
The public, the premier said, should not “look at the small amount of bad doctors and say all of them are bad, which is like looking down on about 20,000 doctors and health officials across the country”.
“Some of our doctors are inappropriate, lack ethics, use bad words and tend to focus on money before treatment, and we acknowledge that there have been shortcomings. But it doesn’t mean that 99 out of 100 doctors are bad,” he added.
Cambodia’s health care system has repeatedly come under fire, and late last month a social media spat erupted after doctor and businessman Quach Mengly criticised what he characterised as health care providers’ poor ethics and low level of training.
Commenters on Facebook quickly seconded Mengly’s comments, prompting the Ministry of Health’s Committee of Cambodian Medical Professionals to demand a public apology.
While Mengly did not apologise, he did allow that not all Cambodian doctors were bad, a point the premier sought to drive home yesterday. He did, however, call on doctors to strengthen their code of ethics.