Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 200 clinics closed in 2015: Dept




200 clinics closed in 2015: Dept

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A dentist works on a patient’s teeth at a licensed clinic in Phnom Penh this year. The Municipal Health Department has closed more than 200 unlicensed dental clinics since the beginning of the year. Charlotte Pert

200 clinics closed in 2015: Dept

The Phnom Penh Municipal Health Department has closed more than 200 illegal dental clinics in the capital in the first six months of the year, and has filed complaints against their owners to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, health officials said yesterday.

According to Sok Srun, director of the Phnom Penh Dentistry Department, the crackdown began early this year.

“The dentists hold no dentist certificates or technical skills.

They just learned from parents and ran the dental clinics,” Srun said.

“They do not have skills, which causes infections or diseases, so we cannot allow them to run [the clinics].

They are illegitimate and we must shut them down.”

The crackdown is part of a nationwide effort, but figures on the number of clinics closed around the country were not readily available, Srun added.

Ly Sophanna, a spokesman for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said he had yet to see the complaints.

Ke Sovannaroth, an opposition parliamentarian and the chairperson of the National Assembly’s Commission on Health, said that she welcomed the closures.

“The commission is always holding meetings with the Ministry of Health on people’s health, but I have yet to see the department’s reports.

In principle, we do not want to see illegal operations.

They must be legal to ensure clients’ safety,” she said.

Dr Callum Durward, head of the dentistry department at Puthisastra University, said yesterday that while the closures would ultimately be good for patients, such crackdowns are not the ideal way of dealing with the issue of unlicensed dentistry.

“I guess that it is a good thing, in that there is no shortage of dentists in Phnom Penh.

In fact, many dentists are underemployed, partly because there are so many [unlicensed] traditional dentists, and I do think that their practice puts patients at risk, particularly when it comes to cross-infection control,” he explained.

On the other hand, he added, “I do feel bad for [the dentists], because that’s their livelihoods, and it will be hard on their families”.

“What some countries have done is register them, give them some additional training to make sure they’re safe, then allow them to continue to practice and retire” without renewing the clinic’s licence, Durward continued.

“Cambodia never did that in recent decades, and they’re dealing with problem now . . . But from a public safety point of view, I think the public is going to be protected by the removal of these practitioners.”

According to the Department of Hospitals, there are currently 117 clinics in the application process for proper dental clinic licenses.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STUART WHITE

MOST VIEWED

  • Thailand offers Covid-19 funding

    The Royal Embassy of Thailand contributed two million baht ($62,765) to Cambodia’s fight against Covid-19 on Wednesday, as the countries celebrated 70 years of diplomatic relations. The donation was presented by Thailand’s Ambassador to Cambodia Panyarak Poolthup to Prime Minister Hun Sen at a meeting

  • Crowded prisons will set free 10,000 inmates

    Close to 10,000 prisoners will be freed as part of the country’s anti-prison overcrowding campaign, Minister of Interior Sar Kheng announced on Wednesday. The bulk of the inmates have mostly served their sentences and will continue to be monitored by local authorities after their release

  • Sanctuary head sued for not stopping forest occupations

    Four Bunong and an Adhoc official filed a joint lawsuit against Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary head Prum Vibol Ratanak at the Mondulkiri Provincial Court for failing to stop illegal land occupation and the buying and selling of forest land. Vibol Ratanak denies the allegations against

  • US and Cambodia talk cybersecurity ongoing assistance

    US Ambassador Patrick Murphy met with Minister of Interior Sar Kheng on Wednesday to discuss bilateral collaboration including on issues of civil society organisations and democracy in Cambodia. But cybercrime seemed to be the prevailing topic at the meeting. Murphy posted on Twitter: “Productive meeting

  • UN: Don’t let patent rows hamper virus vaccine

    The UN patent agency has hailed the push to create a coronavirus vaccine and make it globally available but warned against allowing copyright rows to overshadow and delay the process. “What we need in the first place here is innovation,” said Francis Gurry, the head

  • ‘Be vigilant on human trafficking’

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng on Wednesday urged provincial authorities along the border to remain vigilant against the transportation of Cambodian migrant workers into Thailand. Speaking during an annual meeting of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking (NCCT), he said despite the closure of the