Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Two suggestions for improving health care



Two suggestions for improving health care

Two suggestions for improving health care

Dear Editor,

I write regarding your coverage of the death of a pregnant woman in Pailin (May 27, April 30, March 20 and March 19).

In following this sad case, after a closed hearing by a Battambang provincial court, I am still unclear as to whether it was caused by carelessness and wrongdoing by the health officials or by lack of obstetrician capacity to treat the woman's serious haemorrhage.

First, there are no witnesses to prove that the health officials really demanded 100,000 riels (US$20) from her. Second, following surgical protocol, health officials do not allow anyone to enter the surgery. This makes it very difficult for the court to judge whether malpractice on the part of the obstetrician is to blame, although the government does have a code of ethical conduct for health professionals. The question is:

Where is an independent medical investigation agency that is responsible for judging cases such as these?       

 

In the past, it was very rare that health officials were punished under the law for acts of wrongdoing. This failure to enforce the law has contributed to Cambodia still being in poor health; especially, maternal and paediatric health. According to the Ministry of Health's 2008-15 Health Strategic Plan, the ministry still needs an improvement in health equipment and facilities, as well as more staff. Currently, one medical doctor covers 100,000 people, and there are only 5.5 midwives and 12.1 nurses per 100,000 people.

Although there are 100 new medical graduates every year, this number is not enough to cope with the growth of the Cambodian population.

Compounding this is the fact that because of new job opportunities in other sectors, many experienced medical officials have left their professions to work as lawmakers, researchers or freelance consultants, or have emigrated to work in developed countries.   

Unfortunately, the Sub decree on Education in Health Field, passed on March 13, 2007, does not help, as it says: "A 2.1 master's program on public health and research must be studied after a bachelor's degree in the science of medicine, pharmacy and dentistry. To study nursing, midwifery or other medical fields, at least two years' study is required with a total of 54 credits."

In my opinion, this article of the law discriminates against students with non-medical backgrounds. Because of this subdecree, non-medical background students cannot register to study master's programs of public health. Therefore, I feel that the government should reconsider amending this to allow non-medical background students to study in the medical field and take part in developing our country's health sector.

Tong Soprach

Phnom Penh

Send letters to: [email protected] or P.O.鈥圔ox 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting