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King, Queen Mother inaugurates Kantha Bopha cardiac centre

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
KT/Khem Sovannara

King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Monineath Sihanouk yesterday inaugurated Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital’s three-storey cardiac surgery centre in the capital.

The Kantha Bopha Sihamoni Monineath Centre, built at a cost of $4.5 million, houses 170 beds.

During the inauguration ceremony, King Sihamoni said the centre demonstrated the government’s commitment to develop the Kingdom’s healthcare sector and improve the people’s well-being.

The King also paid tribute to the hospital’s founder, the late Dr Beat Richner.

“Through support from the Swiss government, Swiss charities and other national and international donors, Dr Beat Richner built five Kantha Bopha Children’s hospitals in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap city to treat millions of children, pregnant women and also other patients without charging any fees,” King Sihamoni said.

He added that through the efforts of the national and international communities, the health sector in Cambodia has been restored and improved.

King Sihamoni noted that last year he and the Queen Mother donated $1 million towards building the cardiac centre.

Health Minister Mam Bun Heng said at the ceremony that the ground floor of the new wing has three large operating theatres and also cardiac surgery, neurosurgery and orthopaedic surgery rooms.

He said the first floor has two rooms with 40 beds and the other two floors have a total of 120 beds to provide inpatient pediatric care.

“The centre is the first to provide cardiac surgery treatment in Phnom Penh and will start operations from tomorrow [today],” Mr Bun Heng said. “Together with the only other such centre at the Jayavarman VII Hospital in Siem Reap province’s Siem Reap city, about 1,000 people can be operated on per year.”

King Norodom Sihamoni presides over the ceremony yesterday. KT/Khem Sovannara

He noted that this second cardiac surgery centre in the Kingdom was set up to respond to the needs of more than 4,000 children annually who are in need of heart surgery.

“This achievement plays a major role in reducing infant and maternal mortality and looking after the health of children in line with the government’s policy,” Mr Bun Heng said.

He noted that the Kantha Bopha Foundation set up by Dr Richner also raised $3.5 million to buy medical equipment for the centre.

Pascale Baeriswyl, visiting Swiss State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, who was at the ceremony, said Dr Richner’s vision to create quality health services for all children in Cambodia had been central to the hospital’s success.

“Today’s inauguration is an honour to Dr Richner and his committed staff, as well as the government of Cambodia and the Kantha Bopha Foundation,” she said.

Aun Pornmoniroth, Minister of Economy and Finance and also the chairman of Kantha Bopha Foundation, yesterday sent a letter of appreciation to tycoon Kith Meng, chairman of The Royal Group of Cambodia, for his contributions to the foundation as a founding member.

“On behalf of Samdech Hun Sen who is the foundation’s honorary president and his wife Bun Rany, I want to deeply thank tycoon Kith Meng and his wife who became foundation members of Kantha Bopha Foundation after donating a plot of land [1,372 square metres] to build the cardiac surgery centre,” he said in the letter.

Since being founded by Dr Richner in 1992, Kantha Bopha Hospitals have treated more than 16 million Cambodian children.

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