A three-story hospital in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district dedicated to giving monks free medical treatment is undergoing construction and plans to open in 2013, members of the Supreme Patriarchy said yesterday.
Heng Kong, secretary of the Supreme Patriarch Non Nget, said that the $1 million Monk Hospital, which broke ground in June 2007, is currently 50 percent completed.
However, charitable donations from a wealthy businessman and charities from the US and Australia have only amounted to $500,000; and more funding is needed in order for the project to push forward, he said.
“It will be the first hospital built [since the fall of the Khmer Rouge] for treating sick monks across the country,” he said, adding that monks often face problems affording medical care because they are unable to earn money.
“Monks serving in Buddhism are not businessmen or farmers that generate an income, so it is important to give them free treatment,” he said.
The hospital is being built on roughly 2 hectares of land located along National Road 5 in Sen Sok district’s Samraong commune.
Mr. Kong said that a local tycoon by the name of Keo La had contributed the majority of funds for the hospital. But construction has recently slowed due to a lack of funds.
“I am planning to write the government to ask for contributions, and I am also planning on appealing to Cambodians living locally and abroad for charitable funds,” he said.
Dok Narin, secretary of state for the Ministry of Cults and Religion, said that if called upon, the government would answer the call to help complete the hospital.
“The hospital will improve the welfare of human beings, so the government will definitely help to finish it if the project is running out of budget,” he said.
He also said that it would be the second such hospital in Cambodia designed to treat monks. The first, Preah Kossamak hospital in Tuol Kok district’s Toek La’ak II, was built by the mother of the King Father, Queen Sisowath Kossamak in 1950.