A New Pediatric Heart Surgery Unit Inaugurated in Phnom Penh

A new pediatric heart surgery building named Pavillon Kantha Bopha-Sihamoni Monineath at Kantha Bopha Children's Hospital I in Phnom Penh was inaugurated this morning.

This inauguration ceremony was presided over by Their Majesties King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk together with other dignitaries including H.E. Ms. Pascale Baeriswyl, State Secretary at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs; Prof. Mam Bunheng, Cambodian Minister of Health; Dr. Peter Studer, CEO of the Kantha Bopha Children's Hospitals and representative of the Swiss Kantha Bopha Foundation, as well as Dr. Denis Laurent, the Kantha Bopha Children's Hospitals' Chief Operations Officer.

On the occasion, His Majesty the King expressed his profound thanks to the Government and people of Switzerland for their ongoing support for Kantha Bopha Children's Hospitals where millions of Cambodian children, pregnant women and sick women have been examined and treated at no charge.

The monarch lauded the Royal Government of Cambodia's efforts in developing the health sector and promoting the people's welfare.

His Majesty the King announced his and Her Majesty the Queen-Mother's additional contribution of US$100,000 each to the Kantha Bopha Foundation.

For her part, H.E. Ms. Pascale Baeriswyl underscored the Swiss government's ongoing financial support for the hospitals, including an additional contribution to the new ward.

H.E. Ms. Pascale Baeriswyl also paid tribute to the founder of the Kantha Bopha Hospitals, the late Dr. Beat Richner. His vision to make affordable quality healthcare available for all the children in Cambodia are at the core of the success of the hospitals.

Today's inauguration is a homage to Dr. Richner's commitment and resolve, to the outstanding staff of the hospitals, as well as to the Cambodian government and the Swiss Kantha Bopha Foundation, she underlined.

The Kantha Bopha Hospitals were established in 1992 by Swiss pediatrician, Dr. Beat Richner under the invitation of the His Majesty the late King Norodom Sihanouk. Over the past 27 years, this hospital treated approximately 16.3 million children in the outpatient departments, 1.9 million children in the inpatient departments and 1.7 million pregnant women in the outpatient maternity department. The substantial reduction of the maternal and infant mortality rates in Cambodia over the past two decades is closely linked to the high performance of the hospitals.

The construction of the three-storey Pavillon Kantha Bopha-Sihamoni Monineath cost some US$4.5 million, of which US$1 million were donated by Their Majesties the King and Queen-Mother. The building was equipped with medical equipment worth in total US$3.5 million funded by the Swiss Kantha Bopha Foundation and Cambodian Kantha Bopha Foundation with its Honorary President, Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press