Monday, April 4, 2011

Keynote Address at the Closing of the 32nd Stocktaking Conference and 9th Joint Review Conference of Health Sector Achievements

Phnom Penh, March 15th, 2011

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen
Distinguished national and international guests,

It is my pleasure and honor to be in the closing of the 32nd stocktaking conference and 9th joint review conference of health sector achievements. I believe the conference is a great opportunity for all of us to reassess the current progress and identify challenges in the upcoming years. According to the report read by H.E. Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health, the conference has reviewed in detail the achievements of the Ministry in 2010. The conference has also introduced initiatives and new methodologies to further smooth out work implementation and achieve success in the sector.

Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and myself personally, I highly praise all levels of officials, doctors, medical practitioners, nurses and all staff who are working in the Ministry of Health, hospitals, health centers and health posts for the tireless effort in providing professional health care services to all patients. This progress not only is the prerequisite for better living standard and poverty reduction, but it also boosts public confidence on our health sector and image of the country. In this connection, I highly value cooperation and assistance provided by development partners and agencies, national and international organizations, private sector and all related institutions for increasing efficiency and effectiveness of the health sector. I would also like to request all health officials, related institutions, development partners and agencies, private sector and professional bodies to continue the contribution and effort to jointly realize the vision of our health sector, especially in the areas of rehabilitation and expansion of physical infrastructure, institutional capacity development and human resource development that are key foundation for expanding health service coverage and responding timely to the needs of the people.

The Royal Government has been attentive to the implementation of the strategic plan for health sector 2008 – 2015 that involves the strengthening, expansion and quality improvement of health services, behavioral change of health service providers, capacity and skill enhancement, improvement in the management and supply of drug and medical equipment, tightening of regulation on drug and health clinics, and the strengthening of health information system especially financing service and governance.

Moreover, the Royal Government also prioritizes the prevention and treatment programs, maternal and infant health program, and fee exemption for the poor. Through this, the Royal Government continues supporting the health equity fund to ensure the poor’s access to public health services. In this spirit, the Royal Government has gradually increased annual expenditure on the health sector, especially on the construction and expansion of referral hospitals, provincial and municipal hospitals, and village health posts across the country to move health services closer to households. The Royal Government believes this is an effective measure to provide timely health services to improve social welfare and accelerate poverty reduction.

In this spirit, the Royal Government has done its part to constantly increase the number of doctors, medical practitioners, midwives and nurses though training programs, capacity strengthening programs, and national and international internship programs. Along with this, we also pay attention to the allocation of doctors, medical practitioners and nurses in rural areas. We continuously strengthen the professionalism of doctors, medical practitioners and health officials to ensure the quality of health services. In this sense, I would like to appeal to health officials, doctors, medical practitioners and all health service providers who are responsible for the provision of health care services to adjust your behavior to the code of professional conduct in the health sector when you interact with the people and patients by upholding the technical and humanitarian principles and have to adhere to virtues, morality and high sense of self awareness and must always remember that “ doctors are saviors of patients”. All doctors and health personnel must not just consider patients as your customers; in contrast you have to consider patients as victims who necessarily need to receive saving, treatments and healthcare services, and provide them with best cares in order to make them have hopes in lives and trust and confidence in the service of our public heath.

In addition, the Royal Government has also thoroughly increased investigations on the provision of health services in private sectors, in particular on doctors’ consultations and treatments and pharmaciticual businesses by encouraing all hospitals, clinics and private medical centers to respect the principles of laws in order to ensure the quality of services and health of people as well as encouranging those health practicioners in private sector to strengthen and expand cooperation with other state institutions, development partners, national and international organizations and other donors, aimed to improve the public health of our people. In parallel, the Royal Government has been encouraging all stakeholders to continue improving and expanding their capacity to make a progress towards establishment of a system for insuring health, education and more-indepth information dissemination of health and hygience more extensively. I believe by doing so all those tasks would not only become effective social saftey nets but also can ensure sustainbility of health sector developoment of Cambodia.

Though we already have made many achievements and progresses, we are still facing a number of confronting problems that we need to work together to address in order to achieve the Millinieum Developoment Goals 2015, in particular the issues on child and maternal motarlity rates during laboring that are still high and women fertility. Along with this, the rapid increase in numbers of people in urban and rural areas, lack of research study and dissemnation of new disocveries of health problems, lack coordinating mechanisms of instistutions responsible for the healtcares of familiy and businesses enterprises, incomplete process of insurance, limited capacity of institutions in technology for communication and performing tasks systematically, and ourtbust of contagious diseases as such are all a concern that we have to persistenly face and address in 2011 and in years ahead.

In addtion, even in the past we have invested a lot in technology for use in medical and information technology sectors, and promoting the capacity of institutions to address confronting problems above, in particular for good diagnosis work and effective health treatments, all these tasks have not yet shown their effectiveness. Hence, at this phase we need to select additional investment projects in this area in order for medical technology and health information technology system to effectively contirbute to patients’ follow-up cares, analsyses, and disease treatments in a timely response to the need of our people in all places in the country. At the same time, we all have to actively continue encouraing and implementing key measures and policies along with further promoting partnerships and more in-depth reforms of health sector aimed to build more preferential environments for investment projects of private sector in construction of physcial infrastructure that will create a key mechanism for the development of health sector of Cambodia more quickly.

In this spirit, I would like to instruct the Ministry of Health and relevant institutions/authorities at all levels to continue working hard through effectivee uses of all means and resources in the right directions. That includes the Ministry of Health and all relevant partners need to mobilize new initiatives and good recommendations from this forum as input materials in order to ensure rights directions in prepartion and planning of activities for the positive results of continued implemenations of health tasks in this 2011 and years. Along with this, the Ministry of Health needs to establish mechanisms for patients’ follow-ups and diagnoses that can be trusted, and throughly implement those mechanisms to ensure quality and effecitiveness of the public health provisions to our people by complying with the standards and career code of ethics for doctors, dentists, pharmacists, doctors of medicines, midwives, male and femal nurses, officials, personnel, workers and all practicising agencies in the entire health sector.

Moreover, do not over overlook the outflowing trends of Cambodian people seeking healthcaer services outside the country. This factor not only make us lose the reveune of health sector, contributing to gross domestic products, through spending on the imports of health serivces from outside the country but also impacting general trust of our people on health sector that we have worked hard building and developing from scratch. In this sense, the Ministry of Health need to firmly increase attention on quality and effectiveness of public health provision to our people by adhering to the spiririts of high responsibility and caring on performing duties of each individual, for the the cause of welfare development for our people and society.

In this spirit, the Ministry of Health has to make its continued effort to encourage hospitalls, health centers, health posts and health service providing institutions, especially clinics and private poly-clinics to upgrade their medical equipments and facilities and medical professional in desease diagnosis and analysis to be perfect in medical consultation, treatment and healthcare for our citizens. Having said that, health service providers must strickly and seriously comply to the principle of public health disciplines called “human health is conscience obligation that doctors, nurses, pharmacists, health practitioners and other health staffs must primarily comply with. We must not let patients die or illness condition become more serious due to administrative arrangement and treatment service payment”. In this regards, health treatment must be based on humanitarian and professional code of ethics, with careful and comprehesive diagnosis and analysis on the cause and symtom of various deseases and must provide timely treatment to save our people lives. Along with that, I would like to remind the Ministry of Health to pay attention, take gradual and effective measures and cooperate with other relevant ministries/institutions to eliminate and crack down on expired medicines, obsolete medical facilities and equipments and unlicensed medical producers, pharmacies and clinics because ineffective or careless law enforment of above issues could possibly generates side effects on our people lives and the society as a whole.

Logically, a credible public health system is built based upon technical, technological, physical and institutional support. Therefore, the Ministry of Health and related agencies must make continued efforts to build supportive infrastructures to dispatch public services closer to our people in accordance with the decentralization and deconcentration policy of the royal government. Moreover, the Ministry of Health must continue to cooperate with other relevant institutions and agencies to solve inter-sectoral issues such as the averse impact of climate change and natura disasters, causing negative impact on animal and human health, economy, agriculture, water and environment. In this spirit, the ministry has to prepare itself by strengthening medical emergency rescuse capacity and jointly pay more attention to the provision of consultation service, health examination and treatement to our people and dessiminate conprehensively the measures to prevent and minimize impact of any disaster that may have on our people.

Last but not least, I would like, once again, to express my sincere thanks to Excellencies, Ladies, Gentlemen, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, health pactitioners, health staffs and development partners of both local and international organization and health agencies to participate with the government in developing Cambodia’s health sector so far and highly appeciate your arrangement and participation in this important conference. Taking this opportunity, I would like to urge Excellecies, Ladies, Gentlemen and all paticipants in the conference to continue providing support and actively implement any action plan as laid out in health sector to realize new achievemnents for our people and the entire nation.
Finally, along with the closing of the 32nd stocktaking conference and 9th joint review conference of health sector achievements I would like to wish Excellencies, Ladies, Gentlemen, distinguished national and international guests and the conferences the four gems of buddist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

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