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]

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

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.


Back to top

Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Looking Back and Looking Ahead – Sunday, 4.1.2009

Posted on 5 January 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 593 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 593

The beginning of a new year always challenges us – to look back, and to look ahead. In both cases we may gain some orientation. We know, more or less, what happened – but do we understand why? Are we satisfied with what we know? What do we like to continue, and what to change?

Or do we try to look more into the future than into the past? Looking forward to 2009 – but is it with fear, or with hope? May be we have our own clear plans what to do – but will we be ale to make things work out, because many others have the same hopes – or not?

Obviously, we cannot get all the lifetime prosperity, harmony, and affection which people wished for us so that the New Year would be a Happy New Year. But could we, maybe, foresee and say more – not for us as individuals, but for the society were we live?

The last couple of days provided two strong indications about that – but of a contradicting nature.

A paper reported that the president of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court had said – though without using these words – that we do live in a society which is not governed by the law.

Quite a strong statement – because the Phnom Penh Municipal Court court “lacked judges for hearing 6,500 cases in 2008. Being unable to solve many cases like that, makes that hundreds of accused persons are detained beyond the legal limit, which states that the detention of an accused or of a suspect can be up to a maximum of six months. Then they have to be brought to court for a hearing, and if the court cannot find them to be guilty, they must be released immediately. However, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and Khmer courts in different provinces do not abide by this legal procedure, and continue to detain thousands of people for many years without conviction, which is against legal procedure and seriously violates the rights of the accused.” By the end of 2007, there had even been 9,200 such unsolved cases.

Not some uninformed and ill-intended observers said this, but the president of the Phnom Penh Municipal court.

And the future?

The president of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court “acknowledged that Khmer courts are not yet quite in good order; therefore all Khmer courts need many more years to improve.”

The Court Watch Bulletins of the Center for Social Development describe what the accused – guilty or not – will have to endure for years to come (according to the time line given by the president of the Municipal Court): “The municipal court conducted hearings for three criminal cases every day, and half of those hearings lasted only not more than 20 minutes. So the period for hearing each case was very short, just enough to read the verdicts by which the court defined punishments, or defined who were the losers and the winners in a conflict. The result is that each case is not clearly analyzed according to the procedures of the law, and according to the facts. Therefore it is seen that frequently the rich and high ranking officials won cases against poor people, and against people who are not powerful in society.”

The president of the Municipal Court states now that one of the reasons for these regular violations of the law is a lack of staff at the courts: there are not enough judges and not enough prosecutors! There is no reason to doubt this. But we do not remember to have seen, in the press over the years, that the leadership of the courts, the leadership of the Ministry of Justice, the leadership of the government as a whole – responsible in different ways to upheld a state of law – has decried this situation, leading to regular gross violations of basic rights of citizens according to Cambodian laws, and initiated urgent efforts to rectify this situation.

The situation has an even worse aspect, when one considers that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng was quoted to have acknowledges that there is corruption among high ranking police officers.

But is all his going to be rectified – not immediately, but consistently, and step by step, without unnecessary delay?



The Supreme Court Released Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun on 31 December 2008 on bail – they had been arrested on 28 January 2004 and were convicted to serve 20 years in prison by the Phnom Penh court, for killing the labor union leader Mr. Chea Vichea on 22 January 2004.

But the president of the Supreme Court explained now that the present decision – to release them on bail – was made because the murder of the former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia needs further investigation, as there were gaps in the procedures, and there is insufficient evidence.

This decision was widely welcomed – as it initiates a reconsideration not only of what really happened five years ago, but it will also be necessary to clarify:

  • What went wrong with the investigation of the police, and why?
  • What went wrong at the initial court procedures, when evidence offered by the defense was disregarded, and why?
  • What went wrong when the Appeals Court on 12 April 2007 upheld the convictions of Born Samnang and of Sok Samoeun, in spite of many indications raised in the international and national public – including by the former King – that the initial process was flawed, and why was there no new investigation ordered by the Appeals Court?

There is hope that the present decision of the Supreme Court will lead to justice for the two persons who spent already five years in prison.

But tis is only one side of the problem. The Supreme Court created an opportunity like never before, to go into detail, to clarify what went wrong and why, and who may have to take responsibility for what went wrong, and bear the consequences according to the law.

Not a revision of old, or the promulgation of new legal procedure will make Cambodia a state under the law – only the strict application of the law will help to bring change.

There was never a better chance for this than since the recent decision by the Supreme Court.


Please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.


Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The Municipal Court, Notorious for Corruption, Describes the Shortage of Judges for Hearings – Saturday, 3.1.2009

Posted on 4 January 2009. Filed under: Week 593 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 593

“The Phnom Penh Municipal Court, ranking first in committing corruption among the courts countrywide, described on Monday that it lacked judges for hearing 6,500 cases in 2008. Being unable to solve many cases like that, makes that hundreds of accused persons are detained beyond the legal limit, which states that the detention of an accused or of a suspect can be up to a maximum of six months. Then they have to be brought to court for a hearing, and if the court cannot find them to be guilty, they must be released immediately. However, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and Khmer courts in different provinces do not abide by this legal procedure, and continue to detain thousands of people for many years without conviction, which is against legal procedure and seriously violates the rights of the accused.

“The president of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Chiv Keng, notorious for being biased toward the rich and frequently causing poor people to loose their cases, said that in 2008 the Phnom Penh Municipal Court did not solve around 6,500 cases, while by the end of 2007, there had been 9,200 unsolved cases. If one compares the two years, in 2008 there were more of the normal complaints filed at the municipal court solved than in 2007, because in 2008, there were only 6,500 complaints not solved in time, while in 2007, there had been 9,200 left unsolved.

“Chiv Keng said, ‘This does not mean that we received fewer complaints than last year. We received a similar number of complaints like last year, but this year, we worked more effectively, and the number of judges has also increased.’

“Chiv Keng, who was just promoted as an excellency in 2008, added that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court received between 3,000 and 5,000 complaints on average per year. He said that in 2008, also more complaints than in 2007 were addressed.

“Chiv Keng went on to say that at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, the number of judges was increased in 2008 from 9 to 16, and it is planned to increase the number up to 45 judges in a few more months in 2009; it will also be requested to increase the number of prosecutors to 25, while at present, there are only 8 prosecutors.

“Chiv Keng continued to say that the space available for work is also a problem for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court; therefore the municipal court plans to construct a building with six floors in the compound of the present Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“According to the last Court Watch Bulletin [Volume 5, #23, October 2008], published by the Center for Social Development, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court had only two hearing rooms in September 2007 in which the municipal court conducted hearings for more than 884 criminal cases between October 2006 and September 2007.

“The same report added that the municipal court conducted hearings for three criminal cases every day, and half of those hearings lasted only not more than 20 minutes. So the period for hearing each case was very short, just enough to read the verdicts by which the court defined punishments, or defined who were the losers and the winners in a conflict. The result is that each case is not clearly analyzed according to the procedures of the law, and according to the facts. Therefore it is seen that frequently the rich and high ranking officials won cases against poor people, and against people who are not powerful in society.

“The executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, said that he saw some progress in the Khmer court system, but there is a lot more work that the court has to do.

“He said, ‘Courts should make their judges more independent than they are at present, so that the judges can decide about the various complaints by themselves.’

“Chiv Keng acknowledged that Khmer courts are not yet quite in good order; therefore all Khmer courts need many more years to improve. Chiv King pointed out, ‘Now we are not 100% in good order, but we have made many reforms, and now, we do not hear as much criticism about corrupt courts as three or four years ago.’

“Chiv Keng added that at present, courts have ways by which citizens can report about inactivities of courts, or about different rule violations by courts. Chiv Keng continued to say that Cambodia needs more than 300 judgesT and prosecutors in addition countrywide. At present, Cambodia has only around 200 judges and prosecutors.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3656, 3.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 3 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1837, 3.1.2009

  • The Department of Information Denies Radio Free Asia Broadcast that Citizens Are Forced to Set Flags [in front of their houses to welcome the upcoming 7 January [1979] victory festival]
  • Former Thai Prime Minister [Somchai Wongsawat] Joins Samdech Hun Sen’s Daughter’s Wedding [Phnom Penh]
  • There Were More Than 8 Million Voters in the Voter Lists of the National Election Committee in 2008
  • Thieves Entered to Break a Safe in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Taking Riel 20 Million [approx. US$5,000]
  • The Number of Beggars at the Beaches in Sihanoukville Increase
  • A Senior Leader of Hamas Killed by an Air Strike Attack by Israel on Gaza
  • Cuba Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Revolution

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #174, 3.1.2009

  • A Korean Man Committed Suicide by Hanging without Any Known Reason [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6542, 3-4.1.2009

  • Three Explosive Devices Were Destroyed [by the Cambodian Mine Action Center – CMAC] – Police Conclude as a First Assumption that the Aim Was that the Sound of Explosions Should Trigger Disturbance [one hand made explosive device was set in front of the Ministry of Defense and two others were found west of the TV3 station – Prampi Makara, Phnom Penh]
  • A Girl in a Sugar Cane Plantation Was Raped by Three Wild Workers; One of Them Raped Her and the Ears of the Two Others Were Bitten [all of them were arrested – Koh Kong]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3656, 3.1.2009

  • The Municipal Court, Notorious for Corruption, Describes the Shortage of Judges for Hearings
  • [The president of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party] Sam Rainsy: Because of the Events of 17 April 1975 [when the Khmer Rouge regime took full control of Cambodia], There Were the Events of 7 January 1979 [which led to the invasion by Vietnam – critical appraisal of the 30th victory anniversary over the Khmer Rouge]
  • [Former Khmer Rouge leader] Ieng Sary Sent to and from the Calmette Hospital More Frequently because of Serious Illness
  • Siamese [Thai] Minister of Foreign Affairs [Kasit Piromya] Is Pressed to Resign after He Phoned to Ask for Negotiations about Border Disputes with [the Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong [according to the Bangkok Post, he is pressed to resign by officials from the ruling Democratic Party of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4785, 3.1.2009

  • The Acid Attack on In Soklida’s Aunt Is Sent to Court to Be Sentenced; this Is ‘Special,’ Compared to the Cases of Tat Marina, Touch Sunich, and Pov Panhapich [who also suffered acid attqcks, because police take quick [[???]] action for what happened on 8 May 2008, while for the three other women, so far no perpetrators have been found and convicted; it is seen that Ms. In Soklida, a film star, is richer, because now, she owns a car taken away from Ms. Chea Ratha by police, and she has her own bodyguards]
  • Defense Lawyers of Victims Warn They Will Resign from Work in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [if there is no money for them]
  • The Royal Government Creates a Committee for the Management of Concessions and for the Rehabilitation of the Cambodian Railway [financed by the Asian Development Bank]
  • Siamese [Thai] Prime Minister Orders Investigations of Phone Call Threats against Him

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

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...