Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Richner mourned as hero for work helping children

Richner mourned as hero for work helping children

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Mothers hold their sick children outside the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital in Phnom Penh in 2016. Hong Menea

Richner mourned as hero for work helping children

Tributes poured in from the local medical fraternity for Dr Beat “Beatocello” Richner, the founder of the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals, who died in Zurich, Switzerland on Sunday. There are also calls to erect a statue in honour of the Swiss paediatrician.

The 71-year-old Richner, who spent decades working with children since he moved to Cambodia in 1992, died after battling with a serious illness for some time.

Chhoeng Haily, a medical doctor at the children’s hospital, who attended Richner’s memorial service at the Ministry of Health on Monday, told The Post he was saddened over the demise.

“I am very sad over the death of Beat Richer. He sacrificed a lot for Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals. He served Cambodian children from the bottom of his heart until he fell sick. He didn’t even think about himself and sacrificed so much for Cambodians,” said a teary-eyed Haily.

He added: “I would like to request the government to construct a statue for Beat Richner so all Cambodians can remember and understand who the founder of Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital was. Cambodians should remember him.”

Ron Sophal, a general practitioner at Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital V near Wat Phnom, said the late Richner devoted his life to treat Cambodian children and even neglected his own health.

“He did not care whether the children were rich or poor. He provided treatment equally by using modern [medical] technologies."

“I urge the government to erect a statue to symbolise his heroism. He devoted physically and mentally to help Cambodian children. The statue would be a reminder that he saved millions of children,” said Sophal.

While Kaing Meng, a specialist nurse working at the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital since 1996, said Richner’s death had affected many people.

“Not only am I mourning the loss of Beat Richner, all my friends and family members are also grieving.”

Chheng Kimseng, a resident from Siem Reap said, “I want the government to start building his statue in all Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals throughout Cambodia.”

The Council of Ministers’ spokesperson Phay Siphan told The Post on Monday that any request to erect a statue in honour of Richner should be submitted to the government for approval.

“A letter has to be submitted to the Prime Minister [Hun Sen] to decide, and then it will be sent to the cabinet for formal approval,” he said.

Siphan said Cambodian leaders have awarded medals to Richner to honour his contributions to children’s healthcare while he was alive.

Right now the government would like to express its deepest condolences to his family.

At the special memorial service, Health Minister Mom Bun Heng said his death was not only a loss of a prominent medical professional but a tremendous loss to the Cambodian healthcare sector as well.

“We will continue Dr Beat Richner’s humanitarian mission to help children in Cambodia,” he said.

A gifted cello player, Richner earned the nickname “Beatocello” and performed concerts in Switzerland to raise money to treat children for free in the Kingdom.

Richner was named the “Swiss of the Year” in 2002.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro