Prime Minister Hun Sen advised that the Ministry of Health consider the possibility of advertising kidney transplant surgery in the country, as Cambodia has the ability to do so with successful kidney surgery having been performed here since 2010.

The premier also urged doctors to follow their Hippocratic oaths and do their very best for the welfare of the people.

Hun Sen made the call on March 21 at the inauguration of the Cambodia-China Friendship Preah Kossamak Hospital in the capital’s Tuol Kork district – which is equipped with modern medical equipment and completed with more than $80 million in grants from China.

Hun Sen noted that Cambodia had not publicised the idea earlier owing to fears it would stoke irrational concerns about organ trafficking.

“Kidney transplant surgery already takes place at Preah Ket Mealea Hospital, but we have not widely publicised it,” he said, using the official name of the Kingdom’s largest military hospital located in the capital’s Daun Penh district that serves both members of the armed forces and civilians.

“Some compatriots have spent considerable money abroad for this kind of procedure. What should we do in the future? If we do not offer the treatment here, people will continue to travel outside of the Kingdom for transplants,” he said.

Hun Sen suggested that the ministry solve this issue by legitimising the procedure.

“Please consider it. In the past, only foreigners came here for transplants. I have had to personally intervene to save Cambodian lives by helping people to obtain this surgery here,” he said, warning that the authorities must be careful not to allow organ trafficking to occur.

He also urged an improvement in the capability of the Kingdom’s medical staff, as well as further strengthening of medical ethics to ensure the public received effective and safe treatment.

Health minister Mam Bun Heng said the new Preah Kossamak hospital is built on an area of more than 13,000sqm. The 11-storey hospital has facilities for inpatients and outpatients, an emergency ward, and obstetrics and gynaecology departments, along with the support services associated with any modern facility of its kind.

Under construction for 40 months, the hospital has been designed to withstand an earthquake measuring up to 6 on the Richter scale and is capable of supporting a three to five-tonne helicopter on its rooftop helipad, he said.

“This hospital, with up to 400 beds, is one of the largest in the Kingdom. It will not only provide medical services to the public for the next 50 years, but will also become a major training asset for the medical industry in Cambodia,” he added.

Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian celebrated the achievement of the hospital, saying that it demonstrates the strong bonds of friendship between China and Cambodia. He hoped the hospital will make an important contribution to medical services for the people of Cambodia.