King Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday inaugurated the country’s first neurology center at Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital.
The six-story National Neurology Center (NNC), which cost $10.8 million to build, includes 90 beds for patients requiring neurological surgery and related medical care, as well as four operating theaters, eight consultation rooms and a research laboratory.
“This [center] reflects the level of charity and deep generosity of Francois-Xavier Roux as well as the generosity of people both nationally and internationally to the Cambodian people who face a shortage of neurological services,” King Sihamoni said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, referring to the French neurosurgeon who helped raise money for the facility and advised the government on the purchase of equipment.
Last month, U.S. conglomerate General Electric donated more than $1 million worth of medical equipment to the center, according to state news service Agence Kampuchea Presse.
King Sihamoni also announced that he would donate $10,000 to the center.
“On this occasion I would like to contribute royal assets that amount to $10,000 for the support of activities at this neurology center,” he said.
Health Minister Mam Bunheng on Tuesday told the hundreds of government officials, medical students and neurology staff who attended the ceremony that the new center would help treat some of the 22,000 people affected by spinal brain infections every year, along with the 3,000 people who develop brain tumors annually and the tens of thousands who suffer head injuries in traffic accidents.
“[This center] is built in accordance with hospital standards in France,” Mr. Bunheng boasted, adding that the Ministry of Finance put $4.5 million toward its construction.
Sin Somuny, executive director of Medicam, an umbrella network of organizations working in the country’s health care sector, said he hoped the new center would mean that fewer patients would have to seek treatment abroad.
“Until now, complex [neurological] diseases…required people to spend a lot of money to go far away to countries like Singapore. Hopefully, this center will end this and help people get the professional care they need,” he said.
(Additional reporting by George Wright)