Kantha Bopha Hospitals Treat 52,000 Children
By | June 26, 2013

The Kantha Bopha hospitals admitted 52,053 “severely sick” children between January 1 and Monday, according to a statement by the hospitals’ director, Beat Richner, in which he lashed out at unnamed countries for failing to help prevent a “passive genocide” in Cambodia.

Of those admitted, 4,127 children had severe cases of hemorrhagic dengue fever. Surgery was performed on 7,849 children and 1,849 children suffered from head trauma, with operations performed on 12.5 percent of those. Some 8,259 babies were also delivered.

The six hospitals, one of which is a maternity hospital, cater specifically to Cambodia’s poor. Hundreds of people line up outside the Kantha Bopha hospitals each morning with sickly children. The children are treated for free, but the hospitals rely on donations to stay open.

The 2013 national budget set aside $225 million for the health sector, up from $193 million in 2012, but people still struggle to afford health care in an already overstretched and underperforming system.

In his report, Dr. Richner referred to a speech given in Berlin last week by U.S. President Barack Obama, in which he referred to the “outrage of children dying from preventable diseases.”

In response, Dr. Richner spoke out against unnamed countries—though he appeared to be alluding to the U.S.—that he said have a duty to provide funds to keep hospitals in operation.

“Why [do] the states who have caused the whole misery in Cambodia bringing and supporting the war, supporting the following civil war, supporting the Khmer Rouge…not contribute a single dollar to the budget of Kantha Bopha, which is actually preventing a passive genocide of Cambodian children by the hard and highly professional work in the heat by 2,450 Cambodian staff, day and night?” he said.

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The government has failed in recent years to take steps to prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence committed during the Khmer Rouge, according to the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Three Vietnamese nationals were arrested in Sihanoukville on Wednesday afternoon for kidnapping two 34-year-old Vietnamese men and demanding a $7,000 ransom from each of their families after luring them across the border on the pretense of a gambling trip, police said.

About 50 fired factory workers protested in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal court Wednesday after two of the factory’s five union representatives were summoned for questioning following strikes in February.

The appointment of General Sok Phal to head the Interior Ministry’s newly formed department to monitor migrant workers has raised concerns over his close familial connection to a labor recruitment industry fraught with human rights abuses.

As military police with AK-47s descended on protesting garment workers during their nationwide strike on January 3, Sam Ravy, a manager at one of the many factories along Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Street, was on the phone with his mother-in-law.

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