Not Only the Rich, but Also Middle Class People Go to Foreign Doctors – Thursday, 5.2.2009

Posted on 6 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“Phnom Penh: Disobeying medical ethics, the lack of human resources, the shortages of modern tools for analysis and treatment, result in a situation where many Khmer doctors no longer are considered as serious providers of care for Khmer citizens. The number of Cambodian citizens going to receive medical checkups and treatments in neighboring countries is greatly increasing.

“As the reasons behind, we found that the prices of treatments in foreign countries, especially in Vietnam, are similar to the prices in our own country, but the friendliness of foreign doctors towards patients is probably another factor that provides the warm feeling towards patients receiving health checkups and treatments in foreign countries, even though they know that it requires higher expenses contributing to the economy of other countries.

“Mr. Kosal (name changed to maintain his privacy), who frequently goes to Vietnam to receive health checkups said that in Vietnam, before a doctor treats an illness, they thoroughly check, they do not just say something and then inject drugs, or to set up a bag of fluid for an intravenous drip, as doctors in Cambodia almost every time do, to get money.

“He added that doctors in other countries speak friendly and from a position of medical ethics, hospitals show to have sanitation standards, and they have modern tools which make patients feel confident when going to have health checkups and treatments in other countries.

“He emphasized, ‘When I say so it is not to advertise their country, or to humiliate our own nation, but the lack of a medical ethos of Khmer doctors, besides their unprincipled words, uncertain checking methods and treating people just for money, demanding money before the treatment, extending the illness [so that patients have to stay longer and spend much money for the treatment], and unqualified skills, make patients no longer feel warmly toward such doctors.’

“He continued to say, ‘I don’t believe that there are no outstanding doctors in Cambodia, and these do not adhere to immoral values,’ adding, ‘but white doctor’s clothes represent pureness, but not all who wear such clothes do respect what the value of their white clothes indicates.’

“Whether those who go to foreign countries are mostly the rich was explained by Mr. Kosal like this. The fees for treatment in the country mentioned are comparable to Cambodia, but there are additional expenses: for the service of interpreters, for accommodation, food, and for travel. Mr. Kosal added that middle class people also go for treatment, not only the rich. In addition to the mutual trust between those providing health checkups and patients in Vietnam or in other countries, pharmacies in these countries sell medicine to customers on the basis of prescriptions from expert doctors, and especially, in these countries, if a doctors do not have the specialization to treat a certain illness, they will not try to provide treatment, but they will help to refer such patients to another hospital with experts for the illness which a patient has.

“Mr. Kosal went on to say that in general in Cambodia – besides treating any kind of illnesses whether or not they are specialized, and injecting bags of fluid through intravenous drips, which is a method they prefer to use to get much money – some of the doctors scare patients, recommending to receive [unnecessary] operations, so that they can earn more money without really caring about people’s health and lives.

“Mr. Bunthoeun (name changed to maintain his privacy), who frequently goes to receive regular checkups for his liver disease, said, ‘Doctors in Vietnam carefully check illnesses. We learn from them and in their country, they work around-the-clock, making regular visits to take turn caring for patients, unlike in Cambodia, where doctors demand free time on Saturdays and Sundays.

“He added that in that country, people prefer to go to state hospitals rather than to private hospitals, because doctors at state hospitals earn bigger salaries than doctors at private hospitals, which are required to pay high taxes to the state.

“The basis for such trust is explained by Mr. Bunthoeun by saying that in that country, the government often sends doctors to be upgraded by training in foreign countries according to their skills, but not based on nepotism. On the contrary, in Cambodia doctors pay bribes to receive training, and if they fail exams they demand to continue their studies. As a result, when they become doctors, some do not have qualified skills for their career, and then they treat patients without certainty what to do, by just injecting drugs based on vague assumptions.

“Mr. Bunthoeun criticized also that some doctors in Cambodia, who have little knowledge, become proud of themselves, and even when they have almost created more problems for patients, they do not call them, and if they write prescriptions, they write them in French, in order to show off that they are knowledgeable, and their handwriting is difficult to read.

“He asked, ‘Why don’t they write in Khmer? If it is “vitamin,” why not write “វីតាមីន​” in Khmer, so that it is understandable? Why is it written in French?’ Creating trust will help reduce that patients leave to foreign countries, which wastes resources of the national economy, because if ‘doctors can create trust in the country, people will not go abroad.’

“The director of the Mekong Phnom Penh Clinic, which always sends patients to foreign countries according to their requests, Mr. Kong Kimchan, said that to send a patient to Vietnam costs between US$300 and US$400, adding that not only the rich, but also middle class people can go, and the fees for treatments are lower than in Cambodia, but a lot of expenses are needed for accommodation, food, and travel.

“As for the fact that many Khmer patients leave to go abroad, he said, ‘I do not know what to say about human resources in Cambodia, so that many people no longer have trust.’

“Mr. Kong Kimchan added that many factors influence people to no longer have trust; talking about human resources, we also have many, but the private services at some places, and the uncertainty people in general feel, and insufficient knowledge, are reasons affecting other human resources. He went on to say that also belated transportation facilities in emergencies at some localities affect the trust of the people. Although patients are transported to state hospitals, they no longer have trust.

“He continued to say, ‘Reorganizing the system for all people at the basis is good, because patients are not only in the cities, and I do not believe that Khmer doctors exaggerate the general situation of illnesses, because they also want a good reputation.’

“Regarding the lack of tools as a problem, he said, ‘We have received assistance to have many tools, and human resources are also many, but we do not share information well. Therefore, people do not know what we did and how many people we saved. After we would have published such information, what can we do? Are there enough arguments to be presented? In other countries, they have arguments and they have tools.’ He added, ‘We still have shortages; we need additional tools and additional training of human resources.’

“Do hospitals in Cambodia really have the problems as mentioned above? The director of the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, Mr. Say Sengly, recognized, ‘The quality of our services is really limited if compared to neighboring countries, but at present, we are reforming everything, the medical ethos, the techniques, and the procedures for the care of patients.’

“He added, ‘If we talk about the rights of customers and of service providers, the service providers have to take care of patients, but we do not restrain patients, if they want to go to neighboring countries to find better qualified treatment. He continued to say that as for making patients afraid, and the excessive use of too many intravenous drips, it seldom happens at state hospitals, but frequently it happens in private clinics so as to receive much income.”Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4813, 5.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 5 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #12, 5.2.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Will Appear to Explain His Position to the [Phnom Penh Municipal] Court on 11 February 2009 [on a complaint lodged against him by the National Election Committee, as he has not paid Riel 10 million, approx. US$2,500, for defamation – related to a speech during the election campaign in 2008]
  • [Around 3,000] Workers of a Shoe Factory Strike to Demand that the Factory Owner Obeys the Labor Law

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #112, 5-6.2.2009

  • [Adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen and President of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee] Mr. Om Yentieng Reacts to a Report of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association ADHOC [voicing concerns over serious land disputes, poor law enforcement, and impunity in 2008 – Mr. Om Yentieng said, ‘I think I cannot agree with the ADHOC’s report, and though some problems arose, I do not deny them, but it seems that I cannot agree with the assessment, and it is not done well.’]
  • [Former director of the Phnom Penh Department of Education] Mr. Chea Cheat Is Appointed to Replace Mr. Oum Hoeung, Who Is Sent into Retirement

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1865, 5.2.2009

  • Serbia Deploys Ambassador [accredited in Indonesia also] to Cambodia for the First Time
  • A US Ten-Stories Tourist Cruise Ship [with around 1,393 tourists from more than 100 countries] Docks in Sihanoukville
  • Agricultural Researchers of Singapore and Taiwan Come to Study Land Availability and Quality in Cambodia for Investment
  • The United States of America Warns North Korea about Missile Testing as Creating Trouble

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol.7, #335, 5.2.2009

  • 19 Generals Are Appointed Advisors to Samdech Hun Sen after the Shift of H. E. Ke Kim Yan [as the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces commander-in-chief]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #337, 5.2.2009

  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong Demands Euro 100,000 [approx. US$130,000] Reparation from [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy, but the French Court Reduces It to One Euro [regarding Mr. Sam Rainsy’s book, defaming him, that he was, as Boeng Trabaek prison chief, also victimizing innocent Khmer citizens; but the court allows the publishing of the book after deleting one sentence defaming Mr. Hor Namhong]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #197, 5.2.2009

  • Dey Krahom Residents Protests in Front of the Headquarters of the 7NG Company to Demand US$20,000 as Compensation [among the 1,465 Dey Krahom families, 45 try to demand US$20,000 compensation]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6570, 5.2.2009

  • Appeals to the Tamil Tiger Insurgents [by the USA, the European Union, Japan, and Norway] to Surrender [because their fate comes almost to and end through the Sri Lankan government military forces]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3679, 5.2.2009

  • A Person Who Was Close to [top Khmer Rouge leader] Pol Pot [Van Sith, an important former Khmer Rouge official in charge of commerce] Died. It is a Significant Loss for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [according to the Documentation Center of Cambodia, he died in late 2008]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4813, 5.2.2009

  • Not Only the Rich, but Also Middle Class People Go to Foreign Doctors
  • Negotiation in Bangkok: Thailand Continues to Demand to Use the Word Pra Vihan [พระวิหาร in Thai – Preah Vihear ព្រះវិហារ in Khmer] Which Blocks Border Marker Settings
  • A personal note:

    In Europe, at the French-German border, we use, of course, both languages on the border signs: “France” and “Frankreich,” and “Allemagne” and “Deutschland” – no problem.

    As for a big city which, during the centuries, was sometimes German and sometimes French – the French call it “Strasbourg” and the Germans call it “Straßburg.”

    It is surprising that this common sense question of the two languages is mentioned as posing the difficulties, while there has no mutual agreement ever been announced where to put the markers in the widely contested area – always considering the very restricted Cambodian claim – “for the time being” – expressed by the Cambodian side in the Joint Communique of 18 June 2008.

  • Five Children Found to Have Survived the Tuol Sleng Prison [in videos about the Tuol Sleng prison recently provided by Vietnam, taken at the time of the liberation of the prison by Vietnamese soldiers in 1979, who documented it on film] the Documentation Is Now Being Sought to Be Used as Witness Material
  • The Government Creates a New Committee to Solve Investors’ Problems
  • France Asks to Permit again International Adoptions of Children from Cambodia, but Cambodia Suggests to Consider Some Conditions [1. Should single persons be allowed to adopt children or not?, 2. Should families that already have two children be allowed to adopt another child?, and 3. Should gay families be allowed to adopt a child?]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3480, 5.2.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Has Received 94 Civil Party Victim’s Complaints for the Case of Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Duch [Kaing Gek Eav]

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A Teacher Who Dares to Tell the Truth Is Threatened to Be Dismissed from a School – Thursday, 15.1.2009

Posted on 16 January 2009. Filed under: Week 595 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 595

“Civil society officials in Cambodia and abroad expressed concern about the freedom of expression in Cambodia. The authorities of the government threaten activists of trade unions, teachers, civil servants, human rights officials, and democrats.

“The president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association in Kompong Thom, who is a teacher of the high school in Triel, Mr. Sun Thun, was investigated by an inspection team of the Provincial Department of Education, and they plan to dismiss him. He is accused of causing anarchy and insulting leaders of the government while teaching students.

“Civil society people abroad noticed that Mr. Sun Thun is a model teacher who dares to express his opinion actively according to the Constitution, and who dares to criticize corruption and injustice in the society, illegal logging, and human rights abuses committed by some leaders in the government and by other relevant officials.

“Civil society officials who are members of a group monitoring the situation from outside of the country absolutely condemned the activities of officials of the Department of Education of Kompong Thom and of the director of this high school for threatening and trying to make the consciousness of other teachers insensitive, so that they do not to criticize leaders of the school and government leaders, even though they live under pressure and suffer human rights abuses and earn small salaries.

“Members of a monitoring group abroad voiced concerns that Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Assembly and the right to education suffered serious setbacks in 2009, because the government uses a scenario acting through the ministry, provincial departments, school leaders, or other institutions, to put pressure on teachers and other civil servants. A group observing Cambodia based in Kristiansand [Norway – there is an office of the NGO Save the Children, Norway] would like to ask national and international organizations to help intervene in this case at the Triel High School, and to urge the Cambodian government to respect the Freedom of Expression, the right to education, and the Freedom of Assembly for meetings by Khmer citizens.

“The president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, asked the Minister of Education, Youth, and Sport, Mr. Im Sethy, to keep Mr. Sun Thun as a teacher at the Triel High School in the commune of Triel, Baray district, Kompong Thom.
 
“Mr. Rong Chhun wrote an official letter on 14 January 2009, saying that the argument of the director of the Triel High School and of the Department of Education of Kompong Thom, to request the Ministry of Education to reassign Mr. Sun Thun away from the Triel High School, was not right, and that Mr. Sun Thun had not committed any wrongdoing.

“Mr. Rong Chhun emphasized that according to the questions Mr. Sun Thun was asked, according to a report about the administration and financial inspection team regarding Mr. Sun Thun’s words which were broadcast by Radio Free Asia about wells, prices of birth certificates of Grade 9 students, iron for constructing small schools, and about Mr. Sun Thun’s disagreement to remove a stall selling small things from the school compound – all these points cannot be considered to be wrongdoings of Mr. Sun Thun and are not applicable as reasons to reassign him away by force.

“Mr. Sun Thun told a news agency that he did criticize corruption, about the cutting of wages for hours worked by teachers, and he had criticize bad leadership of the present leaders.

“The deputy director of the Triel High School, Mr. Ouch Phally, said that Mr. Sun Thun criticized the leaders of the government while teaching students.

“It should be noted that Mr. Sun Thun, a teacher and president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association in Kompong Thom, has enough rights to express his opinion through the press, he has the right to negotiate with leaders from all levels in the educational institution according to the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia in Chapter 3, Article 41 and 42, the Common Statute of Civil Servants [?] of the Kingdom of Cambodia in Chapter 55, Article 36, the Law on Education in Chapter 7, Article 37, and the treaties of the International Labor Organization which guarantee to citizens of both sexes the right to express opinions, the rights of association, and the right of negotiations.

“Mr. Rong Chhun believes that Mr. Sun Thun will receive justice after an investigation by the administration and financial inspection team. Activities of the director of the Triel High School and of leaders of the departments, related to rancor and about discriminating related to the freedom of association, and to revoke any teacher can be made as long as they have committed serious wrongdoings about which the school director or the leaders of the department had advised them two or three times, following administrative regulations, but if they still not change, then their supervisors can suggest to the Ministry of Education to help to advise them. Mr. Sun Thun has no wrongdoings, and his supervisors never summoned him before to advise him, but there was immediately the request to remove him by force; this goes against the administrative procedures.

“Therefore Mr. Rong Chhun believes that Mr. Sun Thun will receive justice by keeping him to teach the students at the Triel High School.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #326, 15.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 15 January 2009

Kampuchea Thngai Nis, Vol.5, #396, 15-22.1.2009

  • Sok Sam Oeun Is Ordained as a Monk after the Supreme Court Released Him on Bail [after five years in] Jail [convicted for murdering the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Vichea in January 2004]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1847, 15.1.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Opens a Pretrial Conference for the Hearing of Kaing Gek Eav [also known as Duch, former Tuol Sleng Prison chief] This Morning

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #324, 15.1.2009

  • New Video Document with the Title “Who Are the Khmers in Kampuchea Krom” Is Produced by the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association [based in the USA]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #326, 15.1.2009

  • A Teacher Who Dares to Tell the Truth Is Threatened to Be Dismissed from a School

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #183, 15.1.2009

  • People Who Pull Carts with Merchandise [many of them children] Kneel Down to Beg Customs Officers Extorting Their Money [they earn around Baht 50 [approx. US$1.45] from one trip [over the border to Thailand and back in Poipet], but they have to pay between Baht 20 and Baht 30 to each post – they are very poor, but officials seem to have no mercy for them, extorting even the little money they earn with hard work]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6552, 15.1.2009

  • The Ministry of Information Reacts to the Allegation that the Royal Government Will Attempt to Limit Publishing through the Internet [made by the Association for Protection of Journalists in response to press reports]
  • Two Young Men Took Turn Raping a [16-year-old] Girl until She Fainted; when Brought to Be Investigate, They Were Released [even though they confessed to the police that they did it, but they were released because one of them promised to marry the victim, and the other promised to help to pay for the victim’s family for her wedding – Svay Rieng]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3666, 15.1.2009

  • The United States of America Encourages the Cambodian Government to Adopt an Anti-Corruption Law Soon [according to a speech by the Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy, Ms. Piper Campbell]
  • Co-Prosecutors of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Send a Witnesses’ Name List to the Judges for the Trial of Duch
  • Siamese [Thai] Prime Minister [Abhisit Vejjajiva] Asks the Cambodian Government Not to Raise the Border Disputes for Discussion by the ASEAN Summit [while the spokesperson of the Cambodian government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, responded that Prime Minister Hun Sen will raise the border disputes for discussion with Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva at the ASEAN Summit]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4795, 15.1.2009

  • [Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An: It Is Not Necessary to Define when an Anti-Corruption Law Will Be Adopted [because the government is not apathetic about corruption and has taken action to crack down on both large and small scale, and all kinds of corruption – he said during a meeting to greet the new director of the World Bank for the Asia Pacific region, Ms. Annette Dixon]
  • The “DM Group” Prevented a Human Rights Group [of 20 people, including German legal people working at the Senate] to Check Forest Sites Cleared for Planting Rubber Trees in Ratanakiri
  • A UNDP Expert [Ms. Jaye Sitton]: Members of the National Elections Committee Have to Resign from Political Parties [so that the National Election Committee becomes neutral and independent]
  • The Asian Development Bank and Development Partners Provide US$80 Million Grant Aid to Cambodia [to improve good governance, commerce, and health services]
  • The US Government Grants Nearly US$2 Million for Conserving and Maintaining Temples and Ancient Artifacts in Cambodia

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3473, 15.1.2009

  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee] Asks the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia to Investigate More [former Khmer Rouge] Suspects

Samleng Yuweakwey, Vol.2, #5, 14-17.1.2009

  • A Journalist [of Meatophum] Was Stabbed to Death to Rob His Motorbike, One Robber Managed to Escape, the Other One Was Arrested and Almost Beaten Dead [by a crowd of people – Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

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