Phnom Penh, 2nd March, 2010
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen distinguished national and international guests!
Today it is my pleasure to be here in the closing of the “31st Conference of Health and 8th Joint Reassessment Conference of Health Sector Achievements”. This conference indeed is a great opportunity for all of us to jointly reassess what have been done, drawbacks, opportunities and challenges to come up with new plans that are consistent with various targets of the health sector and supportive of participation from related ministries/institutions to ensure good results and improved efficiency of the sector.
In particular, as raised by H.E. Mom Bun Heng, Minister of Health, this conference is a major annual event of the health sector where health officials from all levels, development partners, the private sector and professional unions gather to review the health situation in 2009 by looking at the progress and achievements and challenges that must be dealt with in 2010 and upcoming years.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to commend all officials, doctors, nurses, and workers in the Ministry of Health and all hospitals for the high quality medical services that push Cambodia’s health sector, starting from scratch because of the war. Indeed, the progress achieved in the health sector is necessary in contributing to poverty reduction of the people. Moreover, I highly appreciate development partners, agencies, national and international organization and relevant organization for cooperation and supports, in term of planning and implementation of health sector. The objectives are to increase effectiveness of health services for people, to reduce poverty, to develop socio-economy conditions and to achieve spirit of Rectangular Strategy for growth, employment, equity and efficiency in Cambodia. In this context, I would like management of staff of the Ministry of Health, relevant ministries/institutions/organizations, development partners, private sector and professional associations to continue their supports and efforts in achieving a vision of health development in Cambodia, especially on restoration and expansion physical infrastructure and development of human resources. These are the foundation to expand coverage of health service delivery and timely response to essential health services of our people nationwide.
Achievements and progresses in health sector could be made with financial and technical contributions from our country friends, development partners, national and international organizations and private sector. Those contributions are invaluable to ensure public health, progress and sustainability of health sector in Cambodia. In this sector, the Royal Government continues to implement Health Sector Plan 2008-2015 to strengthen health services, improve quality of services, change attitude of service providers, ensure sufficient and regular flow of fund for supplies of medical equipment, strengthen skill and capacity of staff, improve medical supplies and strengthen health information system, including health financing and health governance, of which strengthening the supplies, management and use of medical drugs and regulating pharmaceutical products and private health services providers.
Moreover, we have been expanding coverage program on prevention and treatment transmission disease, maternal and infant health, and enforce free health consultation and treatment for poor through increase and use of equity fund to enable the poor to receive public health services without letting any patient die because of not be able to receive full treatment and care from doctors. At the same time, we have increased the budget support for this sector to further develop and expand the number of referral hospitals, health centers and health posts across the country in order to make basic health care services available for people in the area with improved professional quality.
Along with that, the RGC has expanded the quantity and improved the dispatching of doctors, general practitioners, midwives, and nurses in the health sector through training and various capacity building programs such as sending students and interns to various training programs at the national and international level, and increasing incentives for rural health officials. Meanwhile, we have been promoting the professional ethics of doctors and that of all health officials so that they can become real public health service providers. In that sense, all state’s doctors and health officials who have the duty to provide health cares for the people must try their utmost to adapt their personalities in accordance with the codes of ethics in health sector by providing the people or patients with cares and treatments based on technical principles, virtues, and integrity. They must always view themselves as kind guardians of the patients so that they can feel more comfortable and confidence while receiving the service. Besides, the RGC has also increased its control on private health service providers such as consultation services, treatment, and legal commercialization of medicines to ensure the quality of the services and health of the people as well as continue to strengthen and expand cooperation with public institutions, development partners, private sector, national and international organizations, and donors aiming at improving public health. Through this, we would have better ability to strengthen and gradually expand our work toward the establishment of health insurance system, and to broader and further educate and disseminate information on health and sanitation to people. These works will constitute an effective social safety net which could ensure sustainable development of Cambodia’s health sector.
Along with the achievements and progresses made, we also acknowledge that there are still rooms for improvement including the challenges of rising population and new relocation sites, the lack of researches and findings on new discoveries in this sector. Moreover, the mechanism for facilitating health sector and the people, enterprises and insurance work have not been fully in operation. Institutional technological capacity is still limited for systematic work, and various pandemics are still the challenges ahead. Besides, although we have so far invested a lot on medical technology and institutional capacity building to address the challenges facing health sector, I have personally observed that the proper identification of diseases and the effectiveness of treatments are still at the beginning phase. Hence, it is important that we continue to invest in this sector in order to continue to strengthen medical technology, health information system, especially, disease monitoring system which could track down information across the country, the management system off all levels of health entities which could respond quickly to various situations and to help promote health officials’ ability to use these information to improve the quality of the service. Base on this foundation, we must continue to promote and implement various key policy measures including promoting the partnership and reform initiatives in this sector aiming at improving the investment climate of the private sector to participate in the development of physical infrastructures in this sector which will create a key mechanism for rapidly develop Cambodia’s health sector.
All of the points mentioned above can be used as experiences for consideration while preparing the action plan for 2010 and the year ahead. In this sense, the Ministry of Health, and all level of related institutions must continue to try their utmost and by all means with the available resources to effectively realizing the objectives as set out by this 2010 conference.
Indeed, the conference has received many new ideas that can be used for implementing the works ahead, and I have raised many recommendations already regarding the promotion and development of health sector, but as time goes by and in the evolving context, new works keep on emerging. Bases on this, I would like to raise some more recommendations to strengthen and expand the implementation of works in health sector effectively aiming at improving and increasing the people’s confidence in this sector.
1. Continue to prepare and strictly implement legal standard and codes of professional ethic of doctors, dentists, pharmacists, midwives, general practitioners, health clerks, nurses, staffs and agents of the whole health sector aiming at improving the quality of health service delivery with professionalism. At the same time, we must understand that a society can prosper from the sense of contribution, responsibility and high determination of each individual for the cause of national development.
2. Encourage all hospitals, health centers and health posts, and all health service providing institutions to modernize this sector including developing human resource, upgrading medical facility, technology, improving health cares and treatment. Along with that, we have to continue promoting research on this sector by strengthening and expanding cooperation with Health University, Private Sector and other NGOs, Professional Associations, the Research Unit of the Ministry of Health and various hospitals by stimulating and suitably encouraging the new findings.
3. Take further measure seriously and implement the drizzling policy by cooperating with related various ministries/institutions in order to eliminate the medicines and medical facilities that are not of quality, fake and the institution producing and selling medicines and medical treatment institutions that have no license from the specialized authority, causing the patients more serious.
4. Pay attention and closely cooperate with related ministries/institution in order to continue close monitor to the institutions producing cosmetics and beauty salon as well as the use of chemical substances by legally punishing those who caused the problems and destroyed every instruments, materials, facilities and products that have negative impact on the public welfare.
5. Pay further favorable condition to encourage and promote the private sector to participate actively in the development of health sector in Cambodia, especially filling the gap that the Royal Government is unable to do, in order to strengthen the quality of counseling, checking up, taking care, and treating the people at high standard to ensure the patients’ trust and full confident. Along with that, we have to implement the hegemony of health centers and posts at the new resettlement, the development zones along the border and at the rural areas all over the country by continuing to fully implement the equity fund because this work will contribute significantly to the national defense and territorial integrity of Cambodia.
The delivery of health service will positively contribute to the economic development due to the fact that this service is the main defining factor to increase productivity, labor, investment and saving rate through making the people to receive good result in education and profession for their living. The practical experience of other countries in the region has shown that the improvement of health situation is one of the key factors that creating the socio-economic progress faster even though the good health alone is not yet the entirely sufficient factor to promote high economic growth. In this spirit, I would like to reaffirm once again that the health policy of the Royal Government is not just focusing on the economy alone, but it is the willingness that resulted from the high attention in welfare and improvement of the living of our people to be more prosperous.
Certainly, the fundamental structure of public health system is determined by technical limitation and capacity of institution. In this context, Ministry of Health has to continue its effort to deliver public health service closer to our people, in conformity with de-concentration and decentralization policy of the government. This policy has put high responsibility to deliver public health service for the benefit of local people. Furthermore, Ministry of Health has to closely cooperate with other relevant institutions to address other cross-cutting challenges, such as climate change and natural disasters, which affect health of human and animal, economy, agriculture, water and environment. In this respect, Ministry of Health has to be ready by strengthening its medical emergency service, medical consultation and public health care, providing treatment to vulnerable people and preventing diseases outbreak such as malaria, dengue fever, AH1N1 etc. and strengthening a system of monitor on transmission diseases and a response system.
Before closing, I would like again to appeal excellencies, ladies, gentlemen and the conference to actively participate and implement the proposed plan and to share information, knowledge and experiences in this conference in order to improve implementation for new additional achievement as stated in the health strategy.
Finally, to the closing of the thirty first Health Conference and the eighth Joint Review of Health Achievements, I wish excellencies, ladies, gentlemen, distinguished guests and the conference the four gems of Buddhist blessing.