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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - First children's heart centre opens

First children's heart centre opens

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Rising instances of congenital heart defects among the young prompt Calmette Hospital to act

HENG CHIVOAN

Senate President Chea Sim speaks to a young patient at the children’s cardiology centre at Calmette Hospital on Tuesday.

CAMBODIA'S first children's cardiology

centre opened Tuesday at Calmette Hospital, aimed at treating a rising

number of youngsters with congenital heart defects.

"The [old]

heart centre was small and crowded. The number of patients has been

increasing every day, so we decided to build another heart center

specifically for child patients," Health Minister Nuth Sokhom said

during the opening of the US$320,000 centre that was also attended by

Senate President Chea Sim.

"The new building is an achievement

that will enhance our capacity to promote people's welfare," Nuth

Sokhom said, adding that the heart centre was constructed with

financial help from the French humanitarian NGO La chaine de l'Espoire

and Calmette Hospital.

A new neurology centre was also inaugurated at the same ceremony, he said.

Cambodia leads the way

Chea

Sim, who is also the vice president of Cambodian Medical Foundation,

said that treatment for heart problems costs much less in Cambodia than

elsewhere.

"While in Singapore, Thailand, France and the US

heart treatment costs from $10,000 to $50,000, in Cambodia people

usually only pay up to $5,000," he said.

Heng Tay Kry,

secretary of state at the Ministry of Health and director of Calmette

Hospital, told the Post in an interview after the opening that many

thousands of Cambodian children have been affected by heart disease,

prompting Calmette to build a new centre specifically for children.

"Many of them have heart disease since birth and need surgery," he said.

"In Cambodia, there is only Calmette for such disease."

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