King Opens French-Funded Heart Hospital

King Norodom Sihanouk on Friday opened a first of its kind $5.4 million heart center donated by a French humanitarian organization.

The center, located near Cal­mette hospital, will employ 88 people, including 11 foreign medical staff, to provide heart surgery to Cambodian patients.

“I was so happily surprised,” the King said at the opening, re­calling the day when he first learned that La Chaine de l’Espoir wanted to donate the heart treatment center. “But I did not expect such a great, brilliant event as today. This is a great success for the Kingdom of Cambodia and her people, and is a bolstering of stronger cooperation between France and Cambodia.”

The center was first proposed in 1993 by Professor Alain De­loche, who with the organization La Chaine de l’Espoir, has paid for the treatment in France of 20 Cambodian children with heart disease each year.

Health Minister Hong Sun Huot said some 100,000 Cambo­dian children have heart disease and about one-fifth of them need treatment.

The agreement to build the center was signed in 1998 bet­ween the Cambodian government and La Chaine de l’Espoir. The center started consulting  heart disease cases this April, and the first operation was done on July 2, according to Heng Tay Kry, the chief of Calmette Hos­pital.

Since July the center has performed two to three operations per day, he said.

The center, situated near and affiliated with Calmette Hospital, has two operating rooms, eight beds in the intensive care unit, four beds in the recovery room, 14 beds for standard hospitalization, four VIP rooms and six consultation rooms.

Also present at the ceremony were Prime Minister Hun Sen, his wife Bun Rany, Prince Norodom Ranariddh and his wife Mary Ranariddh, Chea Sim, and other government leaders, members of the Constitutional Council and diplomats.

The total cost of the center was $5,443,245, of which the Cambo­dian government paid $620,000 for land.

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