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Focus shifts to oversight of health care providers

A Cambodian nurse prepares a blood sample for analysis. A deadline for nurses to register with the Health Ministry has passed.
A Cambodian nurse prepares a blood sample for analysis. A deadline for nurses to register with the Health Ministry has passed. Eli Meixler

Focus shifts to oversight of health care providers

After a yearlong campaign to register health providers, the Ministry of Health and medical councils now say they must turn their focus to training and oversight of nurses and doctors in the field.

An update to the Health Care Law, passed last November, put more responsibility on medical councils to monitor the health sector. The ministry is now tasked with forming a body to oversee the councils, said Dr Richard James, a technical expert with the World Health Organization.

“[Training and relicensing] have been very popular [with the ministry], and increasingly so with professionals,” he said. “It’s now a question of checking what standards are in place.”

Cambodian Council of Nurses President Un San said his organisation’s next step is to improve nurse training. San said the council had registered approximately 13,000 nurses throughout the country.

Representatives from other councils could not be reached for comment.

Health Ministry spokesman Ly Sovann maintained on Tuesday that all health care professionals in Cambodia are now registered, though he was unable to say how many had signed up as he was out of the country.

Medical professionals had until November 30 to register, and unregistered operators can be punished with up to one year in prison and a fine of up to 5 million riel (about $1,250).

“The general idea is that someone can walk into a public or private firm and recognise the person [serving them],” James said. “We’re hoping people are confident in the service they’re going to get.”

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