The government is to set up a Cambodian branch of the Kantha Bopha Foundation to ensure sustainable funding for the children’s hospitals, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced yesterday.
Speaking to 4,000 tuk-tuk, motodop and taxi drivers at Koh Pich, Mr Hun Sen said he will be the honorary president of the foundation and will help seek funding for its work.
He said the organisation will be based on the original Kantha Bopha Foundation in Switzerland and will secure the future of the children’s hospitals, founded by Beat Richner.
“I will be honorary president of the foundation in Cambodia to find more support for the hospital,” Mr Hun Sen said.
Denis Laurent, head of laboratory and logistics at Kantha Bopha hospitals, said the Swiss branch of the foundation was aware of the government’s plans.
“The Kantha Bopha Foundation in Switzerland is very pleased to hear of this information,” he said. “The foundation in Switzerland will continue to support the hospital. We support the government announcement 100 percent,” he said.
In July last year, Mr Hun Sen pledged to ensure the Kantha Bopha children’s hospitals would continue to provide free services for patients, regardless of whether charitable funding from Switzerland continued or not.
The announcement came after Dr Richner, the founder and head of the hospital and a Health Ministry adviser, resigned from his position as managing director due to health problems in April.
Peter Studer, the vice-president of the Kantha Bopha board, has taken over from Dr Richner.
In November 2017, Kantha Bopha hospitals celebrated their 25th anniversary, announcing they had treated almost 17 million children and pregnant woman at a cost of $632 million since 1992.
The hospital’s budget comes from various sources: 4.7 percent from the contribution of the Cambodian government and 8.9 percent from the government of Switzerland.
The remaining 86.6 percent comes from individual donors, primarily from Switzerland.
During the first 11 months of 2017, $4.3 million in donations were sent to the charitable organisation after the price of tickets to Angkor Wat included a $2 donation to the Kantha Bopha Foundation.
The first Kantha Bopha hospital was inaugurated in Phnom Penh by former King Norodom Sihanouk in September 1992. The hospital was named after King Sihanouk’s daughter, who died from leukaemia.