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Ministry, JICA plan to upgrade two referral hospitals to ‘regional’

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Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine (centre) and Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Atsushi Ueno (right) at the opening of Sunrise Medical Center Sen Sok in Phnom Penh on April 25. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Ministry, JICA plan to upgrade two referral hospitals to ‘regional’

The Ministry of Health and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are working together to upgrade at least two provincial referral hospitals to regional ones, which will be similar in their scope of services and departments to national hospitals.

At the ceremonial inauguration of Sunrise Medical Centre Sen Sok, health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine talked with JICA on the upgrade are ongoing.

She said the ministry plans to establish numerous regional hospitals across the provinces, but in the first stages of the plan, at least two provincial referral hospitals will be upgraded to regional status.

“We plan to establish many regional hospitals but we are in talks at this time. First, we plan to upgrade Siem Reap Provincial Referral Hospital and Kampong Cham Provincial Referral Hospital,” she said.

However, she said she could not yet confirm the costs or the timeline for the talks regarding the two hospitals.

Cambodia’s public health system is currently divided into three levels: National, capital-provincial and town-district. At the local level, there are health posts and centres, which are outpatient clinics that generally serve as the first point of contact between Cambodians and the healthcare system.

National hospitals can provide comprehensive healthcare services with specialised departments such as oncology. Capital-provincial referral hospitals may not have all specialisations available, but they can provide inpatient services such as common surgeries and emergency medical interventions.

A recent government report stated that the social health protection system under the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) covered 38.87 per cent of the population in 2022, with a goal of 40 per cent coverage in 2023.

The number of public health facilities implementing the NSSF programme had increased from 1,300 in 2018 to 1,360 in 2022, including seven national hospitals, 25 capital-provincial hospitals, and 92 town-district referral hospitals along with 1,169 health centres.


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