David Puttnam, once a brilliant film-maker, now a member of the British House of Lords, best known for producing the amazing movie of Khmer Rouge terror, “The Killing Fields,” stunned journalists, some diplomats, and local young film-makers last week in Phnom Penh, by praising the current Cambodian government, and its leader Hun Sen, for its “commitment to ending corruption,” and lambasting foreign journalists resident here.
After more than three years under construction, a $15-million private hospital in Phnom Penh funded jointly by the renowned Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City and Cambodian petroleum giant Sokimex will officially open its doors in January, municipal officials said Wednesday.
The Cho Ray Phnom Penh Hospital—which sits on a 5-hectare plot in Meanchey district’s Niroth commune—will be inaugurated on January 13, but will begin providing limited medical services later this month, municipal governor Pa Socheatvong said during a meeting at City Hall on Wednesday.
“[Prime Minister] Hun Sen and the Vietnamese Prime Minister [Nguyen Tan Dung] will preside over the inauguration,” Mr. Socheatvong said.
Sok Kong, president of Sokimex, which financed 30 percent of the new hospital, has said the facility is intended to reduce travel expenses for the thousands of patients who every year flock to Vietnam for medical treatment.
Those who can afford it have long turned to hospitals outside Cambodia, seeking an alternative to the country’s chronically underfunded public health system.
The Cho Ray Phnom Penh Hospital will operate as a sister facility to the 1,200-bed Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, but will employ only Cambodian doctors and nurses, who will receive an additional eight months of training courtesy of Ho Chi Minh City, according to City Hall.
Municipal spokesman Long Dimanche said Thursday that workers are now unpacking and setting up the advanced medical appliances that will fill the building.
“A group of 14 doctors will come from Ho Chi Minh City to Cambodia next week to inspect the medical equipment,” a statement released Wednesday by City Hall says.
But while the Cho Ray Phnom Penh Hospital may share the name of its in progenitor in Ho Chi Minh City, patients should not expect the same quality of care, said Thir Kruy, secretary of state at the Ministry of Health.
“The hospital will employ…Cambodian doctors and nurses, so I wouldn’t dare say the treatment will be as highly effective as at the Cho Ray Hospital in Vietnam, because [Vietnamese doctors] have received education and experience in France and other developed countries,” he said.
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