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Children in Need of Free Healthcare

Khmer Times Share:
Mothers with their children sit outside the Kantha Bopha Hospital in Phnom Penh. KT/ Mai Vireak

A majority of the more than 2,500 children hospitalized by illnesses in the Kantha Bopha hospital network between Sunday and yesterday were critically poor and could not survive without free treatment, Kantha Bopha hospital founder and head Dr. Beat Richner said.
“[As of] Tuesday, July 19, at 6am, there were 2,590 severely sick children hospitalized [over the past three days]. Eighty percent of these children would not have a chance without hospitalization. This serious reality must be seriously considered by the authorities,” Dr. Richner wrote in a report of the hospital network, which added that most of the children were from “very poor” families.
A number of the children, 92, were moved to Kantha Bopha after receiving poor treatment from referral hospitals or private clinics, Dr. Richner wrote.
He went on to say that all treatment at the Kantha Bopha hospitals is free, that no members of the network’s staff take money from families of patients and that no staff member works at a private clinic in addition to the hospitals.
During the past three days, Kantha Bopha hospitals have performed 82 operations, Dr. Richner wrote. He added that of the more than 2,500 cases of illness reported, the most severe were 141 children with hemorrhagic dengue fever.
An additional 3,453 children are receiving outpatient care from the hospital network, with 75 of the cases encephalitis and 25 of the cases meningitis.
“As many as 25 percent of the staff work at night and on Sunday,” Dr. Richner wrote.
Over the last 23 years, the Kantha Bopha hospital network has treated 13 million outpatients and 1.56 million seriously ill inpatients.
The Council of Ministers in October last year approved a 12.18 percent increase in health sector spending in 2016.

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