Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday pledged to ensure the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals continue to provide free services for patients, regardless of whether charitable funding from Switzerland continues or not.
Speaking at the Peace Palace as he launched the National Social Protection Policy Framework 2016-2025, Mr Hun Sen said the hospitals were models for the Cambodian health system and would always be supported by the government.
He called on the finance and health ministries to cooperate and organise a financial support plan to ensure the sustainability of the hospitals, maintaining the high quality services without charging fees.
Mr Hun Sen added that he met the president of the Swiss Confederation Doris Leuthard earlier this year, telling her about the commitment of the government on the issue.
“The finance and health ministries must ensure that if there is no more aid from our Swiss partners, the hospitals will still provide services as usual,” he said.
In April, Beat Richner, the founder and head of the hospital and a Health Ministry adviser, resigned from his position as managing director due to health problems.
Peter Studer, the vice-president of the Kantha Bopha board, has taken over from Dr Richner.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Cambodia issued a statement saying the government of Switzerland, together with the Kantha Bopha Foundation, is committed to collaborating with the Cambodian government in working towards the long-term financial sustainability of the five hospitals.
It said the Swiss government would support the foundation and Dr Studer to ensure the continuity of the hospitals as a model for high quality, free child and maternal health care.
From 1992 to 2016, Kantha Bopha hospitals spent $563 million treating Cambodian children, with 4.7 percent of the budget donated from the government, 8.9 percent from the Swiss government and 86.6 percent from private donations, mostly from people in Switzerland.
Denis Laurent, chief operations officer at Kantha Bopha, applauded Mr Hun Sen’s wish to keep the hospitals running on a sustainable basis.
The Prime Minister said the Policy Framework would focus on governance, social assistance and security systems, meaning all people would get pensions in old age, plus health insurance.