Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Swiss provide role-model for success

Swiss provide role-model for success

Swiss provide role-model for success

At the Kantha Bopha children's hospital a cleaner is as important as any doctor maintains

Dr Beat Richner, the Swiss national who built the hospital and runs it today.

"If a child gets sick in a dirty hospital a doctor is useless," says Richner.

Kantha Bopha, named after King Sihanouk's daughter who died of leukemia, is seen

by many as a role-model hospital.

A strong smell of chlorine permeates the air. Cleaners appear to be working in every

corner.

An equally-strong sense of professionalism fills the wards and corridors.

Theft and corruption may be endemic in most Cambodian hospitals, but Dr Richner claims

to have eradicated both by giving staff a strong sense of purpose and pride and by

paying them their worth.

The Health Ministry pays doctors a basic salary of 44,000 riel a month which Richner

then supplements. A cleaner receives $100 and a doctor $180.

Parents are encouraged to stay and care for their children which eases the staff

work-load. Advice on after-care and basic hygiene are also passed on.

The hospital provides beds for 138 patients but never turns any children away. At

present, there are an extra 27 patients lining the corridors.

Each morning at 7:40 am the medical team reviews the previous night's cases. The

style is very Swiss.

Presently, 12 foreign doctors and nurses supplement the 230 hospital staff.

Treatment and prescriptions are free. To reinforce the fact, signs are posted everywhere

informing patients they do not have to pay for anything.

The hospital's pharmacy clearly marks all medicines "Not for resale".

Kantha Bopha operates on an annual budget of $2.2 million but Richner predicts this

figure can be cut in half over the next five years as local staff replace those from

overseas.

The hospital survives on donations solicited by Richner himself. The doctor is also

a renowned cellist and writer of fairy-tales.

Richner's hospital is being viewed by the Health Ministry as a role-model for others

around the country.

Funding aside, the doctor believes the actual recipe for success is to encourage

the staff to believe in the value of their work.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished