Voxpop: Kantha Bopha

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Children wait for treatment at the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Millions of Cambodian children, from all provinces in the country, are treated daily at Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals. In 1992, Dr Beat Richner, a renowned doctor from Swtizerland, founded the first Kantha Bopha Hospital in Siem Reap to provide free health care for children.

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He established two other branches of the hospital in Phnom Penh, with one located near the historic Wat Phnom and another within the grounds of the Royal Palace, which was bestowed by the late and beloved King Norodom Sihanouk in order to help ease doctors’ troubles. This week, Post Plus reporter Vandy Muong interviewed the parents or guardians of children and patients about the efforts and treatment at Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital in Phnom Penh.

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Lam Orn, 24, a patient’s mother from Prey Veng province

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I came to the Kantha Bopha Hospital four or five times in recent years. When my child was sick, I wanted my child treated at this hospital. My child is about 10 months old, but she always has bad health like a cold, cough or diarrhea. I did not stay in the hospital this time because my child does not have a serious illness, but the doctor has given me pills. I went to the doctor in my hometown and they were not able to help, so I came here because the hospital has a medical specialist who can cure my baby even though I have to take a little ride. When I came here, I believed in the medical treatment because my siblings brought their children here when they were sick. Moreover, when I come to Kantha Bopha Hospital, my child can be helped without spending a lot of money. I spend only 30,000 riel ($7.50) to drive here and for food, but I would spend more if I got treatment at the hospital near my home. In addition, every sick child now expects the treatment of Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital, so I do not want to lose this and I want to help. I used to see Dr Richner on TV, and I was proud of him for helping Cambodian children.

Pho Sderng, 33, a patient’s father from Kampot province

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My son is just 2 years old, and he had a motorbike accident last week while we were driving together, with severe head injuries. My family and I have been in Kantha Bopha Hospital for more than two weeks because my baby has been diagnosed with a head injury. I knew the hospital because I used to bring him to receive treatment for other illnesses. We know that the hospital here treats people well and does not require us to pay as much money as other hospitals. The doctors here pay attention to diseases and poor people. When there is an emergency like mine, the poor do not know where to get treatment. They served my son again with this urgent accident. I hope to have more hospitals like this to help poor children like in my family because this helps me to be more confident. I really appreciate their efforts to rescue children like my son.

Phan Phalla, 60, a patient’s grandmother from Kandal province

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I have been to Kantha Bopha Hospital many times when my grandchildren were sick. My family used to go to the clinic in the province, but it was not good. When I got to know the quality of the hospital, it was better and they were cured. When I and my children came to Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital, the treatment was good and did not cost a lot, even with hospitalisation. Sometimes, if it is a severe case of illness, the hospital allows us to stay for medical treatment, but mild illnesses are allowed to come and go. My 8-year-old grandchild was hospitalised because he was seriously ill. Cambodian children come from everywhere to get treatment at Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital because it is effective and does not cost as much as the private hospitals. For example, before coming here, my family went to a private hospital, and my grandchildren were not satisfied after taking medicine for several days. I always hope that the hospital can still help more children because people should expect for children to be treated.

Por Sovann, a 39-year-old motorbike driver near Kantha Bopha Hospital

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I brought my daughter to Kantha Bopha more than 10 years ago for treatment because she was not breathing normal like other babies. My family thought she might be dead, but she survived to this day because of the treatment from the hospital. Back then, if I did not decide to come to Kantha, my son would not have survived. We do not have any medical hospitals like this for people from all over the country to come because the costs of medical treatment cannot be recovered. Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital rescues young children, and Khmer kids can survive because of this help. Without the hospital and its skills, people do not know where to go for help because they travel from many places like Prey Veng, Kampong Cham, Tbong Khmum. So, I see that Kantha Bopha Hospital has helped many people without making them pay money.

Sok Vanna, 29, a patient’s mother from Tbong Khmum province

This is the first time I have taken my baby to Kantha Bopha Hospital because he has had a fever for many days. After going to the health clinic in the province, I decided to come to Kantha Bopha this week. Coming here early in the morning, the doctor checked and gave me medicine to heal him. My son was just 8 months old, but he was sick and weak, unlike other children. I am concerned to go to other hospitals because I don’t have much money. I was riding here because my neighbour used to bring her baby to the hospital. Many people come here and comment on the quality of treatment. I hope my baby can come here and get a cure from this hospital. I do not have money to visit where the cost is too high, so only Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital helps the poor need me like. I hope to have more of this kind of hospital to heal Cambodian children.