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Kantha Bopha announces drop in infant mortality rate

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Doctors treat an emergency case at the main Kantha Bopha hospital in Phnom Penh last year. Sahiba Chawdhary

Kantha Bopha announces drop in infant mortality rate

The Kantha Bopha Hospitals founded by Swiss paediatrician Dr Beat Richner, who passed away last year aged 71, has reported a drop in the infant mortality rate last year.

“The mortality rate among hospitalised children was 0.23 per cent, while in 2017, the mortality rate among hospitalised children was 0.25 per cent,” said a report issued by Kantha Bopha Hospitals dated Monday and obtained by The Post on Wednesday.

The Kantha Bopha report stated that 961,256 sick children received outpatient care, while 161,426 seriously sick children and 14,615 suffering severely from dengue haemorrhagic fever had to be hospitalised.

Siem Reap provincial health department director Kros Sarath praised the Maternity of Jayavarman VII ( Kantha Bopha Hospital III) and the Kantha Bopha Hospital in Phnom Penh for helping many thousands of Cambodians, especially in their treatment of children and pregnant woman.

“It is very good that Cambodian people can receive free treatment. It was a huge sacrifice by the hospital’s founder [Richner] because operating a free hospital required the sacrifice of money, time, energy and his personal life,” he said.

The report said 154,816 pregnant women were examined and treated as outpatients, while 27,309 babies were delivered in the Maternity of Jayavarman VII (Kantha Bopha Hospital III).

The report said Kantha Bopha Hospitals wished to thank its 2,500 Cambodian employees.

It also expressed gratitude for the support of people mainly in Switzerland and Cambodia for their generous donations.

The Kantha Bopha Hospitals also thanked the Cambodian Red Cross and the Cambodian and Switzerland governments for their contributions.

Dr Richner passed away on September 9 in his native Switzerland. Richner’s ashes were interred in a stupa in the grounds of the Jayavarman VII Hospital in Siem Reap town on December 6.

Richner was hailed a saviour for his role in saving the lives of millions of Cambodian children.

The Kantha Bopha Hospitals trust spends around $120,000 every day on free treatment for children and pregnant women. The budget mainly comes from Swiss and Cambodian donors, with some funding from the two governments.

On 11 April 2018, the Cambodian government established the Kantha Bopha Foundation to raise money for the children’s hospitals.

The foundation was created amid concerns donations from Switzerland, which has supported the hospitals, could dwindle without Richner.

The government will contribute $10 million annually for the operation of the hospitals and $5 million to the foundation.

It has also donated $2 million since February 2017 from funds generated from Angkor Wat ticket sales.

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