Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Swiss Doctor's Dream Comes True



Swiss Doctor's Dream Comes True

Swiss Doctor's Dream Comes True

AP-A Swiss doctor fulfilled his dream to help save the lives of Cambodia's children,

as he opened with elaborate fanfare a hospital on Sept. 24 he had rebuilt from the

rubble of war.

"At home they told me it would be too difficult to do this project. They told

me you have to think of all the problems," Dr. Beat Richner told the 2,500 digni-taries,

hospital staff and flag-waving school-children gath-ered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"At last I stopped think-ing and I started to dream, and now this dream has

become true."

Head of State Prince Norodom Sihanouk presided over the reopening of the Guntha Bopha

Children's Hospital, which he built in the 1960s and named after his daughter, who

died of leukemia in 1952. It had been destroyed during the past two decades of conflict

in Cambodia.

"I am very moved," Sihanouk told Richner. "I appreciate very much

your generosity, your very good heart."

Richner, 45, worked as a pediatrician in the hospital until the Khmer Rouge seized

control of the country in 1975 and he was forced to flee.

Richner returned last December to find the former hospital staff had disappeared

and the facility had been destroyed. He was asked to help resurrect what had been

the main children's hospital in Cambodia.

He returned to Switzerland, where he is a well-known pediatrician and cellist. He

staged concerts and appealed for donations, eventually collecting U.S. $2 million

of the U.S. $15 million he needs over the next five years.

"The Swiss also had this dream and paid thousands," he said.

Richner began construction in April. He gave Sihanouk and other dignitaries a tour

of the freshly painted hospital, already filled with beds and equipment. Richner

said he expects to open the doors of the 100-bed hospital to patients on Oct. 12.

"I'm very impressed," Sihanouk told Richner. "You have done so much

for us." Sihanouk gave Richner US $500 to help with the project. To thank him,

Richner played a Johann Sebastian Bach selection that he called a song of peace.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there