PM Promises Better Health

Prime Minister Hun Sen closed the Medical Association of Cam­bodia’s Fifth National Day of Medicine Friday by praising the Ministry of Health’s plans to reduce infant, child and maternal mortality rates.

The goal, the premier said, is to cut the death rate of children under 5 years from 125 per 1,000 to 43 per 1,000; the death rate of children over 5 years from 95 per 1,000 to 32 per 1,000; and the birth-related death rate of women from 4.4 per 1,000 to 2.5 per 1,000.

Hun Sen praised the medical community for successfully combating malnutrition since the Khmer Rouge’s fall from power. He said the death rate has dropped, and people are generally in better health.

Sao Sokhon, co-chairman of the ceremony, suggested that the government improve public heath services by reigning in independent clinics that operate unethically.

Hun Sen told the audience that he intends to sign a subdecree today that will regulate and license foreign medical practitioners in Cambodia.

“The health business is a humanitarian career if practiced ethically,” he said.

The subdecree, passed Friday by the Council of Ministers, sets terms that must be met by foreigners providing health services.

According to a statement, those terms include citizenship in a member country of the World Health Organization, five years of experience in medicine, the approval of one’s own country or embassy, a clean professional and criminal record, no past bankruptcy and respect for Cambodian culture.

However, the subdecree states, even if an applicant meets the conditions, the government reserves the right to reject anyone.

“We are not too extreme nationalists. But there must be some limit,” Hun Sen said.

Senate President Chea Sim opened the two-day conference Thursday with a speech lambasting practices such as the smuggling of medicine, the sale of fake medicine, improper promotion by pharmaceutical companies and “anarchic health clinics and pharmacies.”

 

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