Dr Beat Richner Opens $12 Million Wing to Children’s Hospital

A new $12 million wing of the Jayavarman VII children’s hospital in Siem Reap was inaugurated Tuesday under the watch of King Norodom Sihamoni, Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng and hospital founder Dr Beat Richner.

Private donations funded the addition: A $6 million donation came from a female Swiss donor and donations from those who attend Richner’s twice-weekly cello concerts held in Siem Reap, Rich­ner said by telephone Tuesday.

The new extension increased the size of the hospital’s floor space by a third, opened a new blood analysis laboratory, and houses a new magnetic resonance imaging machine, commonly referred to as an MRI, he said.

It also added 200 more patient beds to the existing pool of 500. The hospital was treating 670 children and 150 mothers in the maternity ward as of Tuesday, Richner said.

“You know the problem is today we have 140 children hospitalized on the floor and this is the problem for the treatment. It is better that they just be in a bed for quality but we do not refuse children here. When we have too many people with infection, this is dangerous for contamination, and that is why the standards are higher when you have more beds, and it is more comfortable for the mothers,” Richner said.

The Jayavarman VII hospital is part of the Kantha Bopha network of children’s hospitals, which treat an estimated 85 percent of the nation’s youth, including tuberculosis, encephalitis, pneumonia, den­gue fever and malaria.

Construction on the new hospital wing started in January and was completed in November. The $3 million-MRI machine, which creates image scans without creating dangerous radiation, has been up and running since October, Rich­ner said.

The hospital treated 41,126 patients in 2007 and is on track to treat about 55,000 this year, Rich­ner said, attributing the in­crease to road improvements that allow families to reach the hospital easier.


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