Over 3,000 Illegal Doctors in Country: Ministry

A Health Ministry official said Thursday that an investigation in the wake of a devastating HIV outbreak in Battambang province’s Roka commune late last year had revealed more than 3,000 unlicensed doctors operating across the country.

Sok Srun, director of the ministry’s hospital department, said officials cooperated with provincial authorities to warn doctors discovered practicing without relevant paperwork following the infection of more than 240 villagers in Roka. Officials say the outbreak was caused by Yem Chrin, an unlicensed doctor who admitted to regularly reusing syringes.

“We cracked down on more than 3,000 unlicensed doctors around the country,” said Mr. Srun, adding that more than 200 unlicensed dentists were also warned. “We ordered them to sign a contract agreeing to stop injecting people at their houses and if they still walk around injecting the same as before, they will face the law.”

Mr. Srun said a large number of unlicensed doctors were discovered in Phnom Penh, Battambang and Svay Rieng provinces, and most had begun practicing after receiving training from their parents.

The most common illegal practice was running ad hoc clinics, which Mr. Srun said were often rooms inside private houses that offered basic medical treatment.

Health Minister Mam Bunheng said that roughly 80 to 90 percent of the country’s clinics had been inspected as of Thursday.

“We want to crack down on all illegal health services and illegal treatment places around the country,” he said. “After the Roka commune case happened, we strengthened health services and we cracked down on this problem.”

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