Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Minister of Health demands action against unlicensed doctors

Minister of Health demands action against unlicensed doctors

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Svay Rieng provincial Department of Health holds an educational session open to the public about unlicensed doctors on Friday last week. Photo supplied

Minister of Health demands action against unlicensed doctors

Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has issued an official letter instructing all directors of municipal and provincial health departments throughout the Kingdom act against businesses and individuals that offer medical treatment without legal permits.

The letter followed a number of deaths resulting from treatment and injections by unlicensed medical practitioners.

“The Ministry of Health has observed that there are still some individuals and businesses that provide medical treatment without legal permits, affecting people’s health, causing them to lose money and in some cases leading to the loss of life."

“To completely eliminate such illegal health services, all directors of municipal and provincial health departments shall prepare a lawsuit along with relevant documents [as evidence] to be sent to municipal and provincial courts against offenders operating under your respective jurisdiction,” said the letter dated May 27.

Earlier this month, provincial health department director Ke Ratha sent 393 unqualified medical practitioners to court for offering treatment and administering injections without legal permits in an “anarchic” manner.

In Tbong Khmum province, health department director Keo Vannak has sued 148 unlicensed medical practitioners, 17 of whom were summoned on May 26 for questioning while the rest have been made to appear at a later date.

Kampong Speu provincial health department director Or Vanthen on Thursday said the minister’s letter was merely a reminder to some inactive health officials.

“Maybe the minister has observed that some lower-level officials are less active with their duties while some tend to spring into action only when serious problems arise. So the minister simply sends us a reminder,” he said.

Vanthen pointed out that in his province, no villager has fallen victim to unlicensed medical practitioners who go around treating sick people in local communities.

Takeo provincial health department director Nuth Sinath said after receiving the minister’s letter, he had called a meeting of a joint committee to conduct inspections in each local community.

Sinath said his department has not lodged any complaints against businesses or individuals that offer treatment and injections without legal permits. To prevent villagers falling victim, he said the department will strictly enforce the minister’s order.

“Previously, when they did business in areas under my jurisdiction without authorisation, we only made them sign a contract promising to halt their activities."

“But now that the ministry has issued such an order, I will convene a meeting of the joint committee again to ensure effective implementation. This time, we will send anyone found to have repeated their offences to court.”

Rights group Adhoc spokesperson Soeng Sen Karuna urged the government to take tougher measures in a transparent manner and on a permanent basis.

“We have seen some people falling victim to unprofessional medical practitioners who go around treating people in local communities irresponsibly."

“Previously in Battambang province, an unlicensed medical practitioner spread HIV through his injections to nearly all villagers in the community. It is very dangerous."

“The [ministry] must enforce legal procedures transparently from the beginning without discrimination,” he said.


  • WHO: antibiotics cause more deaths

    Increased antibiotics use in combating the Covid-19 pandemic will strengthen bacterial resistance and ultimately lead to more deaths during the crisis and beyond, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a “worrying number” of bacterial infections were becoming

  • Children in poverty said to rise by 86M

    The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children warned that if urgent measures are not taken, the number of children living in poverty across low- and middle-income countries could increase by 86 million, a 15 per cent jump, by the end of the year. In

  • PM slams HRW ‘double standards’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has chided Human Rights Watch (HRW) Asia director Brad Adams for keeping quiet over protest crackdowns in the US following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Addressing reporters while inspecting infrastructure development in Preah Sihanouk province on Monday,

  • Four more UN troops infected by Covid virus

    Four more Cambodian Blue Helmet peacekeepers in Mali have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, bringing the number of infected Cambodian UN peacekeepers to 10. National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces and Explosive Remnants of War deputy director-general and spokeswoman Kosal Malinda told The Post on Tuesday

  • Huge tracks of undocumented land a concern for registration officials

    Siem Reap provincial deputy governor Ly Samrith expressed concern that land registration plans for residents scheduled to be completed by late 2021 could not be achieved because 80 per cent of the land had not been registered. Land dispute issues are a major factor that poses a

  • Bank robber of $6M asks to be released

    An accused bank robber who admitted to stealing $6 million has asked the Supreme Court to release him temporarily because he had returned the money. In a court hearing on Tuesday Chan Simuntha, 39, told the judge that on January 18, his wife Teang Vathanaknearyroth told him that