The government has issued a sub-decree appointing a team of specialists for the Cambodia Kantha Bopha Foundation’s (CKF), granting them the rights to control and manage funds donated to Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital. The move aims to ensure its sustainability and align with the government’s policy on social welfare.

Prime Minister Hun Manet issued the recent directive, renewing the CKF mandate, with the responsibility of mobilising donations and sponsorships. 

It aims to normalise the financially sustainable operation of the Kantha Bopha hospitals, with former Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany as founders of the foundation, and Manet and his wife Pich Chanmony as honorary presidents.

According to the sub-decree, the foundation’s controlling and managing body includes Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth as chairman and Minister of Health Chheang Ra as deputy chair. Other members include a secretary of state of the finance ministry as honorary vice-president, along with other key officials from the health ministry and directors of the Kantha Bopha hospitals in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

The primary goal of the sub-decree is to ensure the hospitals’ sustainability in line with government policies promoting social welfare. This includes maintaining reasonable salary levels for staff to ensure discipline and attentiveness, upholding the operating system and management of the hospitals.

The institution will continue its policy of providing free infant and child screening and treatment services. The edict also emphasises maintaining and enhancing the hospitals’ existing quality.

“CKF is a trust created to seek funds, not for profit. It operates without discrimination against any race, religion or political trend, and serves the public interest. The CKF’s funding sources can include the government’s initial and annual contributions, as outlined in the health ministry’s budget, fees from selling tickets to the Angkor Archaeological Park and legitimate charitable donations,” it stated.

Nuth Sambath, president of the Institute of Medicine, Biology and Agriculture at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, highlighted the mandate’s role in confirming the hospitals’ long-term sustainability in a safe, valuable and efficient manner, ensuring a budget to support its operations.

“The hospitals have played a crucial role in rescuing Cambodian children from numerous diseases and have significantly reduced mortality rates, all without charging any fees,” he stated.

“[The] humanitarian hospital was founded by Dr Beat Richner, who made significant sacrifices to ensure its operation. He dedicated his personal time, resources and his life to maintain the hospital’s functioning up to the present day,” he added.