Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Health Ministry vows to improve after complaint

Health Ministry vows to improve after complaint

Parents seeking medical treatment for their sick children queue outside Phnom Penh’s Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital last year.
Parents seeking medical treatment for their sick children queue outside Phnom Penh’s Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital last year. Pha Lina

Health Ministry vows to improve after complaint

The Ministry of Health has said it will work to improve the qualifications of medical professionals and review the treatment and delivery of care for children in the country in response to a request in an open letter by Dr Beat Richner, founder of the Kantha Bopha hospitals.

Richner, an adviser for the ministry, on Sunday posted the letter on his Facebook page, asking the ministry to develop a government exam for doctors working in private clinics, and to close the private practices of those who fail.

The letter was prompted by the hospitalisation over the weekend of 447 severely ill children, with 146 of the most severe cases of dengue fever and encephalitis having been transferred to Kantha Bopha hospitals from private clinics.

“The ministry will continue discussions by working with [Richner],” a statement posted on the ministry’s Facebook page late on Tuesday reads.

Health Minister Mam Bun Heng yesterday declined to answer questions, saying he was in a meeting.

Richner couldn’t be reached for comment, but Dr Denis Laurent, Kantha Bopha’s deputy director, said he didn’t know the specifics of the exam Richner proposed.

He said a meeting with the ministry was in the works for next week, and more information would become available then. “It’s a very important issue,” he said.

Chheng Kanarath, deputy secretary-general at the Medical Council of Cambodia – the sector’s independent governing body – said currently there is no exam required for medical professionals working in a private or public practice.

They are only required to register with the Medical Council, and to register they need a valid medical diploma and criminal clearance by the Ministry of Justice, he said. For foreigners, the council also requires a letter of good standing from their country’s medical regulating body.

However, Kanarath said the council has been drafting a law on the management of medical professionals, which was approved by the Council of Ministers last month. The medical council, as a part of the law, is looking at an option that would require a medical practice licensing exam, and would apply to all professionals in the health sector, even midwives.

Kanarath said he hoped the law will be passed this year. “That’s the system we want,” he said. “The likelihood of it being adopted is high, but how capable we are to conduct the exam, and when, is the question.”

Dr Hong Someth, who teaches at the University of Health Sciences, said the law, if implemented, could be positive, but only if it’s well enforced. “It could make a difference, but it would take time,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom may hire Turkish power ship

    Cambodia is considering negotiating with Turkey to hire a 200MW-capacity power ship to meet electricity demands as the country faces an ongoing electrical shortage, according to the prime minister. Speaking to garment workers in Pursat province on Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Electricite du

  • ‘Kingdom lacks up to 400MW in available electricity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the general public, hoteliers and businesspeople with generators to use them as back-up as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia cannot generate enough electricity to meet needs due to low water levels in power station reservoirs. On Saturday evening

  • EDC tackles power shortfall

    Electrcite Du Cambodge (EDC) on Monday issued a statement updating the public on its efforts to tackle insufficient electricity supplies during the ongoing dry season. Reductions in electricity prices have resulted in a steady increase in consumers in the Kingdom, while local and international investors

  • African swine fever spreads to VN-Cambodia border

    African swine fever has spread to parts of Vietnam that border Cambodia’s Ratanakkiri and Kratie provinces, a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official said on Friday. Tan Phannara, the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production director-general, told a Phnom Penh workshop that