Dr Beat Richner, the Swiss-born founder of the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals, has been named an adviser to the Health Ministry, a move applauded by hospital administrators, who said it serves as recognition of his dedication and the key role the hospitals have played in Cambodia.
Richner, who wasn’t available yesterday, is “very happy” with his appointment, said Dr Denis Laurent, deputy director for the hospital. “This is very important for the future of Kantha Bopha,” he said.
A ceremony to commemorate Richner’s appointment took place on Tuesday. What precisely his functions will be in the new role will be up to the ministry, Laurent said.
Ministry spokesman Dr Ly Sovann couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday.
The appointment further strengthens relations between hospital and government officials, the administrator said.
The five Kantha Bopha hospitals in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap employ 2,500 Cambodian staffers. Earlier this year, the government announced a doubling of its funding to $6 million.
“It’s also a symbol of that the government wants to keep Kantha Bopha as it is today,” Laurent said.
The hospital raises 85 to 90 per cent of its $42 million annual budget through private donations, mostly from Switzerland.
The hospitals have held 14.5 million consultations and treated 1.6 million children suffering from serious diseases since 1992.