The construction of a new $17.5 million women’s cancer hospital specializing in gynecological services will break ground this summer, one of the co-founders said yesterday.
Janne Ritskes, the director of Tabitha Cambodia, an organization that works to improve the lives of poor Cambodians, said the 220-bed Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital, which plans to open in 2015 in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district, will also act as a training center for oncological professionals and include a cancer research wing.
“Within five years of opening, we hope to be a hospital of excellence,” Ms. Ritskes said at a press conference in Phnom Penh yesterday, adding that she decided to build the facility after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and realizing how few quality services were available to women in the country.
Ms. Ritskes, who conceived of the hospital with Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi in 2010 and is still raising money to begin the $5.5 million construction of the building, said the hospital will charge patients on a sliding scale of $10 to $1,000 based on income and need. Ms. Ritskes said the hospital would be self-sustaining because it would attract wealthy Cambodian women who want to receive care in country.
Dr. Eav Sokha, head of oncology at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, the only hospital offering oncological services in Cambodia, said that while Cambodia needed to provide more cancer services, especially in the provinces, he cautioned the Nokor Tep Hospital could shutter if it didn’t pair with an existing medical center for support.
“To me, a project like that is not ideal and I don’t think it will not be sustainable,” Dr. Sokha said. “It’s not well integrated into the health care system in Cambodia, and I don’t think the funds will be sustained.”