Deputy Prime Minister Tol Lah has urged the Ministry of Health to cooperate more with hospitals and private medicine vendors and to pay more attention to health care for the poor.
“Our people’s health has been affected because of the long civil war,” Tol Lah said Tuesday at a pharmaceutical showcase coinciding with National Medicine Day. “Poor people are not receiving quality health service at a cheap price, and are not getting enough attention from health providers.”
Tol Lah suggested the Ministry of Health, in particular, should improve its monitoring of private clinics and pharmacies. He estimated there were 1,600 unlicensed clinics and pharmacies in Cambodia, and at least 500 in Phnom Penh. He suggested the Health Ministry enforce a law recently passed by the National Assembly designed to crack down on illegal clinics.
Some clinics in Cambodia have been criticized for misdiagnosing patient’s ailments and prescribing the wrong kinds of medications for patients who are often ignorant of the possible side effects of the drugs they are taking.
He made these comments during a two-day medicine exhibition Monday and Tuesday at the Inter-Continental Hotel. Several hundred doctors, pharmaceutical vendors and hospital staffers looked at products offered by a variety of medicine manufacturers.
Health care remains a critical problem throughout Cambodia. Life expectancy is 54 years nationwide, one of the lowest figures in the world.
The maternal mortality rate is 900 deaths per 100,000 live births; the infant mortality rate for children under 1 year of age is 110 per 1,000 live births; and the mortality rate for children under 5 years old is 174 per 1,000 live births.