Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests,
Dear all Participants!

Today, I am delighted to be here with Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen in the Closing of the 34th Health Conference and 11th Joint Review of Achievements in the Health Sector.


This conference is a good opportunity for us to jointly review all past achievements, opportunities, and challenges to identify proper and comprehensive solutions and measures that are in line with health targets of the Cambodia’s Millennium Development Goals (CMDGs) and to mobilize more active participation from concerned ministries, institutions, development partners and agencies as well as national and international NGOs so that we can realize more success for the nation.


Taking this opportunity, I would like to commend and highly value the management, officials, personnel, doctors, dentists, midwives, pharmacists and nurses of the Ministry of Health, hospitals, health centers and stations for working hard to manage and provide all kinds of health services to cure patients that result in this remarkable progress in the health sector. The progress of the health sector has not only promoted people’s trust, respect, love and support for the Royal Government and our health system, but also the reputation of the Kingdom of Cambodia as a whole. In addition, I also would like to highly value development partners and agencies, national and international NGOs for the cooperation and assistance in both the preparation and the implementation of plans of the health sector to increase the efficiency of health service delivery to the people, in the cause of public welfare enhancement and accelerated poverty reduction and socio-economic development, in line with the spirit of “Rectangular Strategy Phase II” of the Royal Government for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency in Cambodia.


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests, and Participants!


The Royal Government has always prioritized the development of the health sector to enhance the delivery, efficiency, equity and sustainability of health services, especially for the poor, the vulnerable and people living in rural areas. With respect to that, the Royal Government has been working hard to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates, expand physical infrastructure of the health sector, and intensify the implementation of important health programs such as the reproductive health program, nutrition program, health education program, infectious disease combat and prevention program especially AIDs, tuberculosis, malarias, dengue fever and measles and so forth.


In order to implement this spirit, the Royal Government has gradually increased the budget to support the implementation of activities in the health sector and to ensure adequacy of medical instruments and equipment and medicines in hospitals, referral hospitals, health centers and stations across the country. Moreover, the Royal Government has also paid attention to strengthening competencies and professional ethics of all levels of health personnel, particularly doctors, midwives and nurses to ensure the delivery of consultation, check-up, care, and treatment services are conducted timely, in a dignified, friendly and indiscriminate manner.


In this sense, I am truly pleased with all the achievements in 2012. In fact, our achievements in expanding the physical infrastructure in the health sector include 99 health centers, 10 health stations, labor and delivery rooms in 7 health centers, waiting rooms for delivery in 115 health centers and 3 referral hospitals that are mostly located in provinces. The expansion of coverage of health’s physical infrastructure to rural areas and the progress of the communication infrastructure mean health services are moving closer to the people. It is now more convenient to provide consultation, check-up, care, and treatment services to the people. In addition, 2012 is the year of prideful success in our effort to improve maternal and infant health, to combat both infectious and non-infectious diseases and to strengthen the health system as a whole. With respect to that, there was “Zero Case” of measles infection in 2012. The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the development of this disease for the next two years. If there is no measles case during this period, the WHO will certify Cambodia as a measles-free country. Along with this, it should also be noted that more than 90 percent of children under one received vaccination; the indicators of our effort to combat infectious diseases show positive progress by achieving the yearly targets; the survival rate of person infected with HIV is more than 90 percent after receiving treatment; the completely cure rate of patients with tuberculosis is more than 85 percent; and the mortality rate from malaria has decreased by 52 percent. Evidently, these achievements clearly reflect the daily improvement of the health condition of our people.


Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and myself, I would like to sincerely thank and highly value the management, civil servants, doctors, health officers and workers of the Ministry of Health, hospitals, referral hospitals, health centers and health stations as well as concerned ministries/institutions, private sector, and all types of professional associations for the active participation and good cooperation that result in such great achievement.


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,


It is the absolute truth that these achievements and good progress in the health sector cannot be realized without either financial or technical contribution from friend countries, development partners, local and international NGOs and private sector. These contributions are necessary to ensure public welfare and the health sector’s progress and sustainability. Furthermore, the Royal Government is committed to expanding the healthcare coverage, improving the quality of health services, improving the manners of health service providers, securing sufficient funding to ensure regular and adequate supply of equipment and medicines, strengthening the competencies of healthcare employees, improving the medicine supply system, strengthening the health information system and so forth.


In addition, the Royal Government has been working to increase the number and improving the distribution of doctors, health officers, midwives, male and female nurses in the health system through various training and capacity building programs, including the dispatch of medical doctors and trainees to sharpen their competency and enrich their knowledge at both national and international levels and the increased monetary incentive for health officers in the countryside. The Royal Government is also constantly working to promote the professional ethics of all medical doctors and health officers in order for them to become effective health service providers. In this sense, The government officials, doctors and health employees must firmly adhere to the code of professional ethics when communicating with the people or patients and stick to technical principle and good manner when consulting, examining, caring and treating patients so that they feel comfortable and have more trust in the health system.


At the same time, the Royal Government also acknowledges some shortcomings such as the outbreaks of new infectious diseases, limited capacity to provide emergency maternity and infant care services at local communities, and limited capacity of certain clinics to accurately diagnose patients. In addition, the diseases’ monitoring system, data collection and data recording system at health centers has not fully integrated with the health information system and institutions’ technical capacities for systematic work are still limited. These are the challenges that must be jointly addressed. In spite of the government’s heavy investment in medical technologies, information technologies, strengthening of institutional capacities over the years to tackle challenges in the health sector, to ensure more accurate diagnosis and improve the effectiveness of treatment, there is still more to be done to meet the demand. Therefore we have to continue mobilizing investment in the health sector in order to strengthen our medical technologies and health information system, particularly the monitoring system, data recording and data collection system at all levels and all places in order to enable timely action and health officials to take advantage of this information to gradually improve the delivery of health services.


Taking this opportunity, to contribute some inputs to the conference and the preparation of health strategic plan for 2013, I would like to make the following recommendations:


First, The Ministry of Health must continue improving the implementation of the reproductive health program, and the maternal and infant health program and their respective action plans in order to accelerate the decrease of maternal and infant mortality rate by promoting pre-delivery health services for expectant mothers, encouraging baby delivery at health centers or referral hospitals, expanding emergency maternity and infant care services at local level but comprehensivizing these services at referral hospitals and health centers, building more pre-delivery waiting and delivery rooms at rural health centers, increasing locations for the program for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) and expanding HIV blood test services to provide HIV-infected pregnant women with anti-retroviral drugs.


Second, the Ministry of Health must intensify the implementation of programs to combat all kinds of infectious diseases by strengthening the measures to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and increase access to care and treatment services for leisure workers, increasing the number of counseling and voluntary blood testing centers, expanding the care and treatment service network for HIV/AIDS patients at their homes.  The strengthening of cooperation between the public health and private sector in fighting against the tuberculosis, the enhancement of ability of health officials and villages volunteers to timely diagnose and treat malaria patients and the increased distribution of long-lasting treated mosquito nets, treatment of existing mosquito nets with insecticide or mosquito repellant in targeted villages, increase of education on malaria and its prevention techniques, and timely response to disease outbreak must be paid attention to. At the same time, the Ministry of Health must strengthen the disease monitoring and alerting system to enable timely and efficient action in case of any outbreak of the epidemic diseases.


Third, the Ministry of Health must further modernize hospitals, health centers, and health stations and all health service providers and promote the human resource development, increase instruments, medical materials and improve care and treatment techniques. In addition, the Ministry of Health must promote and expand medical research by closely cooperating with the University of Health, private sector and organizations and professional associations as well as encouraging and ensuring appropriate incentives for the new findings that are benificial for human being.


Fourth, the Ministry of Health must pay more attention to the preparation of work program and schedule for medical doctors, dentists, phamacists, midwives, nurses “by ensuring that all hospitals and referral hospitals and health centers have stand-by medical doctors every day, every hour, even during public holidays” to ensure the all-time availability of health services for the people and patients and we must ensure the firm implementation of these program/work schedule with rules and code of professional ethics.


Fifth, the Ministry of Health must take firm measures by implementing them like drizzling rain and closely cooperating with all related ministries/institutions and all competent authorities in order to eliminate counterfeit medicines, substandard medical instruments and materials, illegal phamacies and clinics, while violators must be punished according to applicable laws and counterfeit products must be confiscated and destroyed.

Sixth, the Ministry of Health must promote and encourage the private sector to acivley participate in health sector development in order to fill the gaps by paying main attention to strengthening and expanding the coverage and quality of consultation, care and treatment services to be more comprehensive with full confidence from the patients.


Seventh, the Ministry of Health must continue the close cooperation with related institutions and other stakeholders to jointly address intersectoral challenges such as the impact of climate change, catastrophes and the associated effects on human health. In this regard, the Ministry of Health must be well prepared to intervene quickly and promote the comprehensive dissemination to prevent and reduce various diseases such as the dengue fever, malaria, bird flu (A/H1N1) and so forth.


Before ending, I once again deeply thank Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen for participating in this conference and contributing ideas, knowledge, perspectives and good experiences to make our conference a fruitful success. In addition, I would like to appeal to Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen to transform all recommendations, information, knowledge and expereiences gained from this conference into actual implementation to achieve more success.


At the end, along with the closing of “34th Health Conference and 11th Joint Review of Health Sector’s Achievements” today, I would like to wish Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, national and international distinguished guests and all participants the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity Nobility, Healthiness, and Strength./.