Kantha Bopha hospitals have treated almost 17 million children and pregnant women at a cost of $632 million, the organisation said, as it celebrated its 25th anniversary last week.
Dr Beat Richner, known as the hospital’s founder, retired earlier this year for medical reasons and is being treated at his home in Switzerland.
In a statement to mark the anniversary, he recalled the first child treated at Kantha Bopha, on the second of November 1992.
“Twenty-five years ago, Kantha Bopha hospitals became a model. The Cambodian Red Cross as well as the Cambodian government declared that thanks to Kantha Bopha’s successful activity, mother and child mortality decreased in the country.” Dr Richner said.
Speaking from the hospital near Wat Phnom, Kampot province resident Phun Ith said she bought her grandson to the medical centre for treatment five days ago, fearing for his life.
He had severe diarrhea and vomiting.
With a smile on her face, she said her grandson is recovering: “I call this place the angel hospital because they are so good at treating children. My grandchild survived.
Had he not been taken to Kantha Bopha he may not have. All the treatment was free, we just spent money on food for ourselves. I am glad my grandson recovered from his illness.”
The hospitals’ budget comes from various sources: 4.7 percent from the contribution of the Cambodian government and 8.9 percent from the government of Switzerland.
The remaining 86.6 percent comes from individual donors, primarily from Switzerland.
The government earlier this year pledged $2 million from international ticket sales to Angkor Wat to help fund the hospitals.
The first Kantha Bopha hospital was inaugurated in Phnom Penh by former King Norodom Sihanouk in September 1992. The hospital was named after King Sihanouk’s daughter, who died from leukaemia.
All medical services are free of charge since many families in Cambodia cannot afford medical costs. Without Kantha Bopha, 3,200 more children would die in Cambodia every month.