Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Health Ministry to deploy doctors to rural areas in the Kingdom in order to promote and expand medical services.
Speaking during the closing ceremony of the ministry’s annual conference yesterday, Mr Hun Sen acknowledged that about 70 percent of Cambodian doctors are posted in urban centres like Phnom Penh.
He said that the ministry must re-consider its choices and assign specialised doctors to rural areas in the Kingdom so rural residents can access medical services.
“Do not gather only in convenient places and just serve a small number of patients,” Mr Hun Sen said. “Please allocate some to rural areas where people are in need of medical services.”
“The ministry must offer support and incentives to doctors who are assigned to work in remote areas,” he added.
Mr Hun Sen noted that a lack of specialised doctors has made it difficult for them to be posted in rural areas. However, he said that the ministry must identify solutions.
“We can assign the doctors to the areas where people in rural communes can have access to health services without having to travel long distances,” he said. “We must not forget our people who live near borders. They seek treatment in border countries because there are no doctors in their areas.”
Health Minister Mam Bunheng yesterday said the ministry will look into ways for people to have access to health education, services and affordable rehabilitation.
“The ministry will provide more training and workshops and focus on building capacities and improving skills,” Mr Bunheng said. “We will also allocate more medical staffers to remote areas.”
He noted that the ministry will also supply medicine and medical equipment to communes in rural areas.
“The ministry is currently strengthening its information management and use data to address diseases and evaluate conditions of patients,” Mr Bunheng said.
Yong Kim Eng, president of the People Centre for Development and Peace, said doctors tend to work in urban areas because they are paid more than their rural counterparts.
“Private doctors prefer to stay in Phnom Penh because most people here can afford medical services, while those in rural areas cannot,” Mr Kim Eng said. “In my opinion, I think the government should encourage more private doctors to go into the provinces and ensure that poor people can have access to medical services, through the financial support of the government.”