Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday defended the health minister for doing a good job while blaming his state secretaries for failing to accredit medical graduates from Vietnam.
Speaking yesterday at the inauguration of the Cambodian-Korea Friendship building in Phnom Penh, Mr Hun Sen said that Health Minister Mam Bunheng was easy to deal with while his officials were causing problems.
“Mam Bunheng is easy to deal with, but some state secretaries are not easy,” he said.
“So please, don’t burn it until it is overcooked and don’t take it out until it is uncooked. Don’t make it inconvenient to me,” he added, referring to trifling issues that officials failed to solve and passed on to him.
Mr Hun Sen said that he ironed out a lot of issues, especially allowing all medical students to take exams regardless of their grades and removing age restrictions for medical practitioners.
“I am too tired. I find a lot of solutions related to the health sector,” he said. “Some cases are too small. Some are unimportant but they make it important. They seek intervention from the Ministry of Health but to no avail. Then, they complain to the Prime Minister to intervene.”
Mr Hun Sen said that all medical students who studied six years in Vietnam should be recognized by the Ministry of Health rather than requiring them to take exams again.
“Previously, the Health Ministry recognized them, but recently it did not. They require those students to take exams again. That is why they complained to me via my Facebook,” he said.
“Students studied six years in Vietnam; they completed all curriculums. Vietnam is very good at medicine. And you don’t recognize their degrees, it seems that you look down on their country,” he added.
Or Vandin, spokesman for the Health Ministry, could not be reached for comment.
Early this month, the Ministry of Health reversed its stance on the process to accredit medical school graduates from universities in Vietnam following an order from Mr Hun Sen after graduates complained on his Facebook page.
The Health Ministry will now officially recognize medical degrees from legal institutions in the health sector in Vietnam, without any additional exams.
The Health Ministry previously required Vietnamese university graduates to retake the medical exam prior to practicing medicine in Cambodia in order to meet the country’s medical standards.
The graduates complained that such a measure was not necessary as exams were already done in hospitals in Vietnam.
The Ministry of Health has decided that studying six years of general medical practice in Vietnam is equivalent to studying medicine for eight years in Cambodian.