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‘Only few people seek medical help abroad’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhayly (centre right) attends the groundbreaking ceremony for a new medical centre in Phnom Penh which will be funded by the Chinese government. It will be called the Cambodia-China Friendship Preah Kossamak hospital. Heng Chivoan

‘Only few people seek medical help abroad’

Health Minister Mam Bun Heng said on Tuesday that not many people in the Kingdom go abroad for medical treatment.

He was replying to a statement that said Cambodians tended to go to hospitals in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, India, China, and other countries for the purpose.

Bun Heng was speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony of a new medical centre in Phnom Penh, funded by the Chinese government. It will be called the “Cambodia-China Friendship Preah Kossamak hospital”.

The event was attended by more than 1,000 hospital employees, government officials and students.

Modern equipment

The 11-storey, 33,000sqm building will have a total of 132 bedrooms and nine surgical rooms. It is located in an area of 13,740sqm. Construction costs 550 million yuan (about $81 million) and takes 40 months to complete.

Wang Qinji, deputy general manager at China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) told The Post on Tuesday that the new hospital will help to reduce the number of people seeking medical help abroad as it will be equipped similarly to Chinese hospitals.

It is said that a lot of Cambodians go abroad for medical treatment. One man, who wishes to talk anonymously, said he had treatment in Thailand because he didn’t trust Cambodian doctors.

Medical staff had told him he needed surgery, so he went to Surin province in Thailand for a second opinion. There the doctors said he only needed to take some medicines to get cured.

“[Cambodian doctors] tend to recommend the most expensive treatments. Not all of them, but at least some of the doctors I’ve spoken to,” he said.

At the end of the ceremony, Bun Heng told journalists that only a few Cambodians sought medical treatment abroad.

“Have you ever sought medical care in another country? And what about a person who claims he did. Is this really true? Millions of people get [local] treatment. There are maybe 12 to 13 million people, have you asked all of them?"

“You only interviewed a few people. How can you know we are talking about lots of people? Don’t just listen to rumours and spread them. You need to see the reason and the result. Do you understand? I often explain this to the media,” said Bun Heng.

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