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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - German philanthropist funds modern hospital in Kampot

German philanthropist funds modern hospital in Kampot

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Kampot Province

Facility to bring competent health care to Cambodia's southern coastal region, where there is little hope in medical emergencies

HENG CHIVOAN

The Sonja Kill Memorial Children’s Hospital in Kampot is scheduled to open next June.

CONSTRUCTION is nearly complete on a full-scale pediatric hospital in Kampot funded privately by a German doctor in the name of his deceased daughter.

The Sonja Kill Memorial Children's Hospital is 80 percent constructed and should be open by next June, according to the governor of Kampot, Thach Korn, who said the modern facility would be a major boost to the entire southern coastal region's health care services.

The bill - around US$8 million for the facilities and $6 million for medical equipment - has been footed by Winfried Kill, a retired doctor , according to Yos Phanita, the vice director of Phnom Penh's Cambodian-Russian Friendship Hospital who is also a representative of the Sonja Kill Foundation Cambodia.

The hospital, situated near the base of Bokor Mountain, is being constructed on seven hectares of land provided by the government.

Its 38 buildings - 26 for patients and the rest for house staff - will include 124 patient beds plus surgery facilities and a maternity ward. Construction started in March 2007, he said.

The facility will require a staff of around 140, including doctors, nurses and custodians, he said, adding that as many as 20 foreign doctors would be brought in.

"The purpose is to meet the high demand of healthcare for children and women," he said. Cambodia's maternal mortality rate has for the past five years hovered at around 472 deaths per 100,000 live births - the highest in the region, according to the Ministry of Health.  

Free service

Yos Phanita said the hospital's services would be free of charge and of the highest quality possible.

"[We] built the hospital in the south of Kampot because there isn't a major hospital there yet. It will be very good for people living around the southern coast because they will not have to go to Phnom Penh anymore."

But he added that the new facility would not be enough to fill the gap in health care provision to all children and mothers in the region. "They need three times more than this."

Some 85 percent of Cambodia's people live in rural areas, but most hospitals and health personnel are in urban areas. Pen Por, who lives near the Sonja Kill Hospital, said that when his children had serious health problems in the past he and his wife were forced to make the three-hour trip to Phnom Penh and even travelled to Vietnam in a couple of cases. "But now I don't think these trips will be necessary any more," he said.

Sin Somuny, executive director of the healthcare NGO MEDICAM, said, "a hospital with those kinds of resources really makes a difference" and is "especially important in the countryside". 

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