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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Health Ministry weighs in on letter of criticism

Health Minister Mam Bunheng (pictured) yesterday released a statement defending the ministry’s work across the nation.
Health Minister Mam Bunheng (pictured) yesterday released a statement defending the ministry’s work across the nation. Pha Lina

Health Ministry weighs in on letter of criticism

The Ministry of Health yesterday jumped to defend itself in response to a reader’s letter published in Post Khmer that was critical of the ministry and the health sector, overall.

The ministry’s open letter said it was clarifying information published in the letter written by fourth-year international relations student Sin Sopharith.

Sopharith, echoing widely held complaints, was critical of poorly trained doctors, patients being priced out of care, private clinics not being properly equipped and the ministry not being effective in its work.

The ministry’s statement, without addressing most of the specific issues raised by Sopharith, insisted it was working diligently to improve the health situation in Cambodia by speeding up the reduction of maternal and child mortality rates and reducing deaths caused by non-communicable diseases.

For example, it said the child mortality rate in 2014 dipped to 170 for every 100,000, compared with 472 in 2005. In 2015, malaria deaths decreased to only 10, compared to 135 in 2010.

“We show the facts,” Health Minister Mam Bunheng said, explaining the statement.

Sopharith was also critical of corruption and nepotism in the ministry. In May, the Post reported on evidence of fraud and corruption at the ministry’s National Malaria Centre.

Bunheng yesterday said the Anti-Corruption Unit was looking into those allegations. However, ACU chief Om Yentieng yesterday declined to comment on the matter.

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