Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New rules for traditional healers

New rules for traditional healers

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A Kru Khmer healer looks through a medicine shelf at a pagoda last year in Phnom Penh. The Health Ministry is considering a sub-decree to regulate traditional medicine practice within the Kingdom.

New rules for traditional healers

The Ministry of Health is in the process of passing a sub-decree to regulate traditional medicine practitioners, with a six-page draft aiming to increase the quality, safety and effectiveness of the services.

The draft sub-decree, discussed by a committee last week and obtained by The Post yesterday, set out criteria and procedures to control traditional health practitioners.

Traditional practitioners will need, when the sub-decree is passed, to register with the Committee on Traditional Healers to obtain a licence. For this, they need either a bachelor’s degree in the subject or to have received training certified by the Ministry of Health.

Some universities in Cambodia offer bachelor’s degrees in the subject, though modern medicine is more popular.

Patients have the right to ask for the ingredients of medicine, and packaging listing ingredients must be accurate. Notably, the traditional healers will be required to tell their patients to go to modern health centres or hospitals for certain diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis or leprosy.

Heng Kuy, a traditional practitioner at Heng Kuy Khmer Traditional Medicine Shop in Phnom Penh, yesterday said he welcomed the sub-decree. “Some people don’t have skills . . . so they just provide treatment which could affect to the people’s health,” he said.

Practitioners will also be required to respect ethical standards and “have the capacity to mix traditional medicines”. The draft sub-decree sets out that they have to ensure their patients’ dignity is not affected and their patients’ confidentiality respected.

They will also have to be at least 22 years of age and have a clean criminal record. Several traditional healers have been accused of or arrested for raping their patients over the past few years.

But Kuy disagreed that practitioners should have no criminal record. “For the point of not allowing practitioners who used to be criminals – I don’t think it is necessary, because they need jobs to survive,” he said.

Yim Yann, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Health, said that the National Assembly had recently adopted a law on professional modern medical practices, but as traditional healing didn’t fall under this, he said they had to draft another sub-decree.

“We will submit it to the Council of Ministers for comments,” he said. “As soon as it is out, it could be effective and practiced. But those who have old licences need to accommodate themselves with the new law and procedures, so it needs time,” he said.

According to the draft, practitioners have to register within a year after the passing of the sub-decree. Those who have “long-term experience”, however, could continue providing their services without registering. It remains unclear what constitutes “long-term”.

Additional regulations set out that traditional healers cannot give discounts to sell their services, unless it’s for charity, or advertise their products in a misleading way that is “attractive” in media such as leaflets, TV programmes or concerts.

Moreover, they are only allowed to use modern equipment when approved by the committee.

MOST VIEWED

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • More than 10,000 workers suspended

    More than 10,000 workers at 18 factories in Svay Rieng province have been suspended because of Covid-19, said provincial deputy governor Ros Pharith. Home to 11 special economic zones, Pharith said Svay Rieng has not been spared as the pandemic takes a toll on the global economy. “There

  • Oz lauds Kingdom’s passage of money laundering laws

    In a press release published by the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh on Monday, the country applauded Cambodia’s stance on transnational crimes as well as its promulgation of an anti-money laundering law and a law on combating proliferation financing. The praise came after King

  • Lotus face masks designed to cover globe

    A French designer in Cambodia has produced ecological face masks from lotus fibre to supply local and international markets with an eye on preserving ancestral techniques and supporting Cambodian women in rural communities. During a trip to Asia, Awen Delaval, an eco-friendly fashion designer, was

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the

  • Planning ministry hands out cash to 420,000 poor families in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Planning has identified 20,000 more poor families in the country, bringing the total to over 580,000, while over 420,000 of them have received the government’s cash assistance. In the meantime, many social security cards from families not deemed to be poor have been revoked.

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting