The fight against Covid-19 has seen the Kingdom’s health workers and medical professionals actively fight on the front lines to protect people from this deadly disease.

Currently, there are more than 20,000 health workers and medical personnel across the country enlisted in this effort. But even that number is not enough to stop Covid-19 from continuing to spread.

In response to the situation the government recently decided to provide an opportunity to more than 3,000 volunteer doctors to join the state employment framework as civil servants in the health sector.

At a time when the health sector is in need of additional human resources, thousands of students who graduated from the 12th grade in 2020 have now applied for admission to various medical disciplines across the country.

A total of 3,540 students passed the required exam according to data from the National Examination Committee in early July.

Secretary of state and spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health, Or Vandine, told The Post on July 7, that this number as compared to Cambodia’s actual needs should be addressed.

“Numbers are one thing, but what is even more important is quality and their actual ability after they graduate. They need to be able to provide good service and to follow the doctor’s code of professional ethics,” she said.

She also urged all students who have passed the exams to pay attention to studying, research and learning new technologies appropriate to the context of modern medical technology.

To be a good doctor, Vandine reminded students who are studying in the field of health, as well as a group of volunteer doctors and specialist doctors who are working in hospitals and health centres all over the country, one must remember that it is a profession that saves lives.

It requires patience, she said, and the discipline to try and save as many lives as possible with the utmost sincerity and commitment and without holding any prejudices about race, colour or political affiliation.

And in particular, Vandine said, they should not be motivated only by money, but by saving lives.

“Save lives first, and think about money later. And use even greater care when dealing with poor patients,” she said, as their health is often in a perilous state by the time they see a doctor.

Regarding this case, Chhim Sok Reaksa, who just passed the exam and entered the foundation year for medical students at the University of Puthisastra on July 5, told The Post that she is now fulfilling her dreams of becoming a specialist doctor in order to help people.

Sok Reaksa, the second child among four from a business family in Phnom Penh, said confidently: “I would not be afraid at all if I was given the opportunity to participate in the fight against Covid-19 with volunteer doctors as long as I’ve completed one or two years of training in my field.”

Similarly, 20-year-old Leap Chantrea, who recently passed the entrance exam for the foundation year at medical school at the University of Health Sciences, said she was ready before she applied.

“I already know some of the roles and responsibilities of doctors – rescuing and treating patients with various conditions and symptoms. And I understand that under no circumstances can doctors abandon their patients,” she said.

Chantrea observed that Covid-19 had spread worldwide and that millions of people have been infected and over four million of them have now died.

“While … facing the Covid-19 pandemic, I want to be a good doctor in the eyes and hearts of patients and their families,” she said.

She said she wants to work and study at the same time in the health sector, but to be a general medical doctor requires she spend seven to nine years studying.

“If there is an opportunity to find a job in the health sector, it is best for me because in addition to being able to strengthen my learning capacity through the practice of saving patients, I can earn income to purchase additional materials related to my field,” she said.

According to the results of the National Examination, recruiting students to apply for the foundation year for a bachelor’s degree or the first year associate degree at health training institutes for the academic year 2020-2021 there are 3,540 students that have passed the exam to study in the health sector nationwide, including 916 in general medicine, 921 in nursing, 1,544 in technical science, 41 in physiotherapy and 118 in midwifery.

However, the National Examination Committee has warned students that they will remove their names from the list of those who passed if they do not show up and fill out an application and provide their provisional certificate of high school graduation at the health training institute where they passed the exam by the evening of July 14.

On July 2, Prime Minister Hun Sen also warned that he would remove the names of volunteer doctors from the ranks of health officials if it was found that they did not meet the government’s professional requirements.