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Ministry bans traditional Khmer healer

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The healer drew out ‘bad blood’ and gave patients a mix of traditional herbs. Health Ministry

Ministry bans traditional Khmer healer

The Ministry of Health has issued a warning about a traditional “Khmer healer” in Svay Rieng province’s Svay Chrum district who claims to be able to cure leukaemia.

The ministry dismissed his claims as a lie, though patients and relatives are backing him.

In a press release issued on Friday, the ministry rejected “false information” posted on Facebook, which claims the healer can 100 per cent cure leukaemia by drawing blood with a needle.

According to the release, treating leukaemia requires scientific and technical procedures by a qualified doctor, not a traditional treatment not recognised by the ministry.

The ministry warned citizens not to believe the false advertising as it can cause deadly infections like HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C which can be transmitted to others unknowingly. It urged the Svay Rieng provincial authorities to take strict and drastic action against the healer.

Provincial health department director Ke Ratha said the authorities confiscated evidence and materials used by the healer to treat the disease on Saturday.

“His treatment carries a high risk of infectious diseases. So we cannot allow him to continue. At first, we saw him using traditional medicine for small procedures, but later he started doing large-scale procedures without permission or recognition of professionals,” Ratha said.

Reached by The Post for comment on Sunday, the healer’s son said his father, Huot Chhoeun, had been treating leukaemia for more than 30 years. He said people in Svay Rieng and other provinces often come to his father for treatment and most patients were completely cured.

He said his father used traditional Khmer herbs ground into small packages for the patients to mix with warm water to drink after his father used a needle to squeeze out the bad blood.

“My father’s treatment was completely convincing, there was no lie. My father probably temporarily stopped treatment for leukaemia because the authorities and medical officials banned it. We do not dare oppose them. If they tell us to stop, we stop,” he said.

Sopha Sreymom, a 40-year-old resident of Kampong Speu province’s Samrong Tong district, said on Sunday she had been suffering from leukaemia for more than seven years. She sought medical treatment at well-known hospitals in Phnom Penh, Vietnam and Thailand, but her condition did not improve.

She said her last choice was to come for treatment with Huot Chhoeun.

“My symptoms included hunger, fatigue, sweating and chills. No matter how hard I tried to eat I had no energy. I’ve spent almost $40,000 on doctors but did not recover. As the last option, I came to this Khmer healer. Now I am healed and my health is normal. Others don’t believe it, but I do,” she said.

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