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NGO alarm at Hansi orphanage move

NGO alarm at Hansi orphanage move

Suspicions regarding an attempt by the shadowy American manufacturer of the "herbal

homeopathic preparation" Hansi to build links with a local orphanage has caused

the Christian development NGO Southeast Asian Outreach (SAO) to issue a public statement

disavowing any connection with the company.

"...SAO wishes to clarify that it has no involvement with HANSI nor the funds

that it or its members are transferring to an orphanage in Cambodia," SAO wrote

in a letter dated July 13 and distributed to the Post, the Ministry of Health and

various NGO representatives.

The SAO letter is just the latest in a series of skirmishes that began in late 1999

between SAO and Hansi's manufacturer, the Bahamas-based American Health Technologies

(AHT), over AHT attempts to disregard government medical protocol for a proposed

clinical trial of the Hansi product involving 3000 orphans.

"...Over the past six months... [SAO] has sought to ensure that [AHT] have followed

Cambodian ethical guidelines and registration with relevant government ministries

before implementing trials of its treatment or production and sale of treatments

in Cambodia," the SAO letter reads. "During this period [AHT] have failed

to make a number of appointments and effectively withdrawn from communications with

SAO."

A subsequent Post investigation in June of AHT activities in Cambodia revealed that

AHT representative David Green, a self-described acupuncturist/homeopath from Florida,

was actively providing Hansi treatments to high government officials with the apparent

aim of bypassing official approval mechanisms.

According to SAO administrator Graham Symons, AHT representatives have enlisted a

SAO employee as an intermediary for funds destined for an unidentified Cambodian

orphanage.

Symons told the Post that SAO feared the funds might be used to facilitate an illegal

clinical trial of the Hansi formula.

"Our worry is that they may be trying to buy their way into places," Symons

said.

The use of an SAO employee in the deal was a matter of particular concern for SAO,

Symons said.

"Our suspicion is that [AHT] may be using this [funding method] to get at us,"

he said "If we were to block it, they could blame us for not supporting 'orphan

assistance' and if the project was unopposed they could say it was an SAO project.

We're trying to cover our backs."

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