jeudi, septembre 14, 2006

The Struggle Against the Disease in Cambodia

News From Cambodia N° 0639-E


Khemara Jati
Montreal, Quebec
September 13, 2006

We diffuse below an article of Cambodge Soir entitled « Against the japanese encephalitis, the free vaccine for the children ».

This article shows that a Swiss Beat Richner and his four Kantha Bopha hospitals take care of the Cambodian children such a care of Swiss level with the dedication and the competence of the staff 100 % Cambodian among whom doctors also is Cambodian 100 %. Cambodians call these Kantha Bopha hospitals “Monty Pet Thane Sour” « the Paradise Hospitals ».

We also diffuse below Beat Richner's short biography. Richner likes Cambodia as well as the Cambodian people. He built four Kantha Bopha hospitals with the Cambodian architects, the Cambodian companies, the engineers and the technicians are all Cambodian. The whole staff including doctors and biologists are Cambodian. Richner wants that Kantha Bopha hospitals lavish care of Swiss level with drugs of Swiss quality. The hygiene and the neatness of the hospitals are also Swiss.

In the interview reproduced below, Richner said: « do you think that the pain of a Cambodian mother who loses her child is lower than that of a Swiss, English or French woman? » He says to the Cambodian staff: « if you Cambodians, you do not love the Cambodian children as your own children, who would love them? It is thus necessary to take care of them as if they are your own children. »

We wish that our fellow countrywomen / countrymen where ever they are meditate and never forget these words of this great humankind who likes our country and our people.

The nursing staff of these Kantha Bopha hospitals follows these educations of national solidarity and hygiene in the current life. On the other hand Cambodians and especially Cambodians who come to have care for their children, in their turn, discover that there is in Cambodia another kind of relation, solidarity, unity and brotherly completely contrasts with those of balance of power, imposed by Hok Lundy-Hun Sen clan.

So indirectly Richner favors the development of solidarity, unity and brotherly relations between Cambodians, a very important step indeed towards the national solidarity and towards the consciousness development belonging to the same nation.

The drug's problem in Cambodia is also another stumbling block to be surmounted. In Cambodia it is the vietnamese Sokimex company which has the monopoly to import of all kinds of drugs. Sokimex does not buy directly these drugs from the pharmaceutical laboratories. Saigon imports these drugs for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia which in the passage gathers in a big part of profits. By importing these drugs in Cambodia Sokimex retains its part of profit. Which makes the drug's cost in Cambodia 50 % more expensive than in Vietnam. More the pharmaceutical laboratories in Cambodia are operated by Vietnamese.

A Cambodian believed to be able to by-pass this monopoly by providing drugs in Bangkok. He resold them with profit to the Cambodian pharmacies. Quickly he became rich and lived easily with his family in a big comfortable house. But quickly “one” made him understands that he had to stop his business or leave Cambodia. He has chosen to leave. Now he lives in the United States with his family.

Regarding the gasoline, the vietnamese company Sokimex also has full monopoly of its importation. It is the same circuit as the drugs. Vietnam builds a very big refinery in the central Vietnam. Then Sokimex will continue to practice the same route. This time Vietnam will make a doubled profit. So Cambodia depends and will always depend on Vietnam regarding drugs and energy in hydrocarbons and gradually in electricity as we have just seen the projects of barrage's construction on Sesan.

Richner, as a Swiss himself, buys drugs directly from the pharmaceutical laboratories. He buys at most generic drugs in particular from Indian laboratories. Those drugs are of the same quality as those used in the western countries. Until now men in power in Cambodia dare to say nothing about it. On the other hand, there is more and more satisfaction of numerous Cambodians who qualify Kantha Bopha hospitals of “Monty Pet Thane Sour” (Hospitals of the Paradise).

In these hospitals there is neither corruption nor favor for the children of the high personalities. One tells that one day a general wanted to make his child pass before the others by pointing his revolver to Richner. Richner did not give up. The general did not dare to fire. This experience is known and makes Richner reputation. Moreover Richner is obliged to appoint deputy director, a French to be respected when he is away.

The very rich « World Health Organization lauded for the distribution of antibiotics, much cheaper than the vaccine and thus more accessible for Cambodia. But their efficiency would have turned out disappointing. »


1 /. It is curious and surprised that in spite of the colossal helps from UNO and from the great powers since now about fifteen years, the regime in Phnom Penh still cannot manage even to organize a health service to meet the needs of the poor population of Cambodia! It needed only a simple Swiss cellist, with his modest means and possibilities to demonstrate that it is possible to take care the Cambodian children of the poor families, who represent 80% of the population, the care of Swiss quality. When the great powers will hang the relay to generalize it and to organize hospitals of this kind for all Cambodians of any age ?

2/. The experience indisputably successful of Kantha Bopha hospitals shows that Cambodians are capable of doing everything and doing well in spite of obstructions and threats of Hok Lundy-Hun Sen clan. It suffices to have personalities like Beat Richner to steer them in the right direction.

3/. The prices of drugs and gasoline would be much lower, even lower than in Vietnam, if there is no monopoly of the vietnamese company Sokimex and if there is a free-market economy between the oil companies. It's the same regarding the electrical energy. Now everybody knows that the energy is the base of any economic development.

4/. In Kantha Bopha hospitals the Cambodian language is using the most to be understandable by the poorest families who little well-read. This fact shows that it is possible to use the national language at the Faculty of Medicine, with a foreign language to be able to perform it abroad. On the other hand, by making it Richner contributes to the development of using the written national language then fighting at the same time against the illiteracy. It is what takes place in all the developed countries, in the exception maybe of some cases particular like Singapore where the English language is to become the only official language with as the second language the Chinese, the Malay and the Tamoul. In the exception also of India where there is a very strong minority (1 % of the population, it makes even 10 million persons) in it very high society who use English in their families. But in India there are very valid universities in local language in particular in Hindi. In India the future does not belong to English, but to Hindi. This complexity makes that India possesses even more than 40 % of illiterates. So India still remains some more brakes hindering its development. In sum there is no comparison possible between our tiny country and the giant Indian. Anyway to form 25 engineers of low level a year in foreign language is really sufficient to develop our country? Why using vietnamese companies and vietnamese engineers to study the projects of construction of barrages on Sesan river instead of trying to use a Cambodian company with Cambodian engineers and Cambodian technicians by using, if need, the helps of the foreign specialists? In that particular case as well as in other domains, when the current regime will have the will to give to Cambodian enterprises and to Cambodian engineers the possibilities of mastering new technological knowledge in the way of Kantha Bopha hospital's staff?

So, by the solidarity and brotherly care lavished on all the poor children of Cambodia without exception and by using the Cambodian language as priority in Kantha Bopha hospitals, Doctor Beat Richner makes an immense contribution to develop the solidarity, the brotherhood and the consciousness of belonging to the same nation among Cambodians. It is this ascent in power of this national solidarity and this consciousness to belong to the same nation that engenders conflicts more and more pointed within the CPP high dignitaries. Heng Pov Affair is only the visible part of the iceberg of the conflicts of interests within the CPP. The conflicts within the CPP cannot be burried just by organizing its funeral in the silence.

Now, as we have foreseen, the Cambodian's struggles against the vietnamese domination crosses our borders. Our brothers of Kampuchea Krom stand up in their turn against the racial and cultural discrimination practised by the vietnamese power against our brothers of the Kampuchea Krom. Samleng Yuveakchon of September 5th, 2006, in its article entitled « Khmer Kraom In Southern Vietnam Boosted by Success of Protest Against Injustices ». Our brothers obtained the liberation of Chau Thoeun, imprisoned for having protested against a vietnamese neighbour who allowed his beefs to come eating his young rice shoots. The vietnamese authorities do not want either that our brothers watch the DVD from Cambodia. So as expected, the Cambodian culture is reviving the national consciousness of our brothers in Kampuchea Krom. Soon they will be, in their turn, the distribution of books in Cambodian. Nothing can prevent any more the ascent in power of the solidarity between Cambodians of Thailand and Kampuchea Krom through the current Cambodia. The future belongs to the peoples who determine to fight for the national liberation.

5 /. Khemara Jati and friends express their profound gratitude to Doctor and cellist Beat Richner for the realization of “ Monty Pet Thane Sour ” (Hospitals of the Paradise) which are Kantha Bopha hospitals.

Is Richner inspired by hospitals of Jayavarman VII? Does not one of his hospitals names of our illustrious king ?

Note : Cet article est aussi disponible en français sur demande.

Annexes :

Cambodge Soir,
Phnom Penh, le 7 septembre 2006
Against japanese encephalitis, the free vaccine for the children
Unofficial translation from french by Khemara Jati
From 5 pm, parents and children begin to queue up in front of the Kantha Bopha I hospital. They will have to wait till the earlier morning to obtain a ticket for their number of passage. If they come from so far and wait for so long in front of and in the surrounding wall of the paediatric building, it is because here and nowhere else the children of young age can benefit from a free protective inoculation against the japanese encephalitis.
This viral disease, the first visible symptoms are a strong fever along with shudders and migraines, then quickly entails grave neurological confusions. Its unpredictable evolution can be fatal. A single solution to prevent this disease : the inoculation. In private clinics even at the public hospitals, its cost remains very high for the majority of the families which until then had to do without it. But from mouth to mouth and in the radio, the poorest people heard about free inoculations at Kantha Bopha, then do not hesitate to make the route up to the capital.
Sok Kumtha, 30-year-old teacher, came from Kampot to make prevention inoculate her daughter. Sat on a bench in the noisy and full yard of the hospital, she waits patiently her turn without losing smile. She holds the total confidence to the establishment. « This hospital has a good reputation, it lavishes free and quality care. The doctors and the nurses do their work so well ». Anyway, never she would have been able to pay the inoculation expenses in a private clinic. « Normally the vaccine costs 15 dollars. My family is very too poor... » She clarifies. The young mother keep holding her yellow index card, where marked her number of passage and all the necessary information for her 4-year-old daughter's inoculation. To face the considerable family influx from all the provinces of the kingdom, the responsibles for the prevention's department had to look for various systems.
Denis Laurent, biologist and deputy director of Kantha Bopha I and IV, is anxious to underline the logistic difficulty that the staff of the hospital had to face. « When we launched this free inoculation four months ago, people streamed of everywhere. There were riots and we had to appeal to the police to help us to prevent them », he tells. Since then these difficult debuts was gradually organized a strict and effective organization. The inoculation takes place at two times, with a delay of week between two injections, clarifies the Dr. Denis Laurent. When their number is called, families go to the first room where the doctors proceed a check-up of their child. Their names are registered on the long lists of the patients and a personal index card is filled. According to an arrowed route, they move from rooms to rooms, reaching at the end of journey the box where the children have the first injection. On the card delivered to them is registered the date when they have to return back for the second sting. So orchestrated, the inoculations take place in order, each one respecting the procedure to be followed. « Families wait patiently, they know that we make the maximum. And with their number they are sure to pass », raises the Dr. Laurent. The logistics adjusted, the staff supervised by Dr. Lam Eng Hour can proceed up to 800 inoculations a day, that is approximately 100 inoculations per hour. More than a simple vaccination drive : educational pictures decorate the walls of the hospital. « It also needs to form people. Their faiths and their practices make that sometimes they arrive too late at the "hospital", notes the doctor.
Supported in 80 % by private donations collected by the director, Dr. Beat Richner, the foundation respects its policy : « the same access of the care for all », without distinction nor discrimination. 90 % of the inoculated children come from poor circles. « It has no corruption there, insists Dr. Laurent, to be ' the son of ' does not matter ». 1,2 million dollars constitute the annual budget for the japanese encephalitis's inoculation. A high cost because the vaccine being very expensive. The hospital began by providing itself from Japan, but for last 8 months, stocks come from Thailand. Without any side effect according to Dr. Laurent, the vaccine remains the only means of effective fight against this disease. The World Health Organization lauded the distribution of antibiotics, much cheaper than the vaccine and thus more accessible for Cambodia. But their efficiency would have turned out disappointing.
In the beginning was the inoculating only the children from 1 to 3 years old, today the hospital welcomes children up to the age of 5 years and soon hopes to widen the inoculations to the 7-year-old children. With the free inoculation at Kantha Bopha, relieved by Siem Reap circle, Dr. Denis Laurent hopes that « in 5 years all the young Cambodians of the kingdom will be inoculated ». Julie Dao Duy and Nhim Sophal

Who is Beat Richner ? We diffuse a biography of this doctor cellist as follow:

Beat Richner, doctor-cellist, for Cambodian children
Article written by Cioran
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Unofficial translation from french by Khemara Jati
« Do you think that the pain of a Cambodian mother who loses her child is lower than that of a Swiss, English or French woman? » For Beat Richner, the answer is indisputably not. It is for this evidence that this Swiss paediatrician fights for thirteen years, in order to offer to the Cambodian children the best care.
In 1974, then recently awarded medical diploma, Beat Richner is sent to Cambodia for mission to practice the paediatric at Kantha Bopha hospital - the name of the girl died from king Norodom Sihanouk. When the Khmer Rouge arrived in April 1975, he has to return back to Switzerland. He works then at the children hospital in Zurich, before opening his cabinet in 1980. At the end of 1991, he decides to return again to Cambodia, and he has to confront with the tragic situation of health reigning over the country. The Cambodian government, as well as the King, ask him then to reconstruct and to organize the former Kantha Bopha hospital. On November 2nd 1992, the first Kantha Bopha hospital is operational, with all its best in term of infrastructures. In a period when the electricity in Phnom Penh is whimsical, the hospital gave the means to be autonomous in electricity supply, thanks to powerful generator sets. For medical treatments, the Swiss paediatrician also wants it is more effective as well. He then opposes to the World Health Organization (WHO) policy which practicing, he says, « a poor medical for poor people in poor countries ». This position was not worth to him the best regards of this almighty organization, which accusing him in return of « making a type of Rolls-Royce medical in a Third World country » and of having « creating needs in this country which it never exist before ». For the paediatrician, the Chloramphenicol antibiotic affair was over. This drug, abandoned since the 1970s in Western for its dangerous side effects, is recommended by WHO in the Third World countries, because of its moderate cost. On December 10th, 1999, at the day of Human Rights, doctor Richner then lodged complains to the International Court of The Hague against WHO and Unicef for passive genocide, crimes against humanity and violation against the children rights.
A perseverance of unwearying
Alone against all, he nevertheless benefited from king Norodom Sihanouk and Prime Minister Hun Sen support. Then the second Kantha Bopha hospital was able to be born in the surrounding of royal Palace in October, 1996. And in 1998, Hun Sen offers a land to Beat Richner at Siem Reap, in the North of the country, near the famous Angkor temples. The third named hospital Jayavarman VII is opened in March, 1999. At the inauguration day, Prime Minister announces that he gives another land, adjoining the Jayavarman VII hospital, for the construction of a maternity which could welcome HIV-positive women *. On October 9th 2001, the maternity is inaugurated, preceding the conference centre, opened in November 2002, also in Siem Reap. It is moreover inside this centre that Beat Richner skips all the weekends in the Beatocello's skin, the cello's entertainer. The Swiss paediatrician is well known in his country for his talents of humorist and cellist, now he uses for the benefit of collecting donations today. In front of a public essentially the tourists, Beatocello plays Bach and sings his own compositions by which he makes the spectators sensitive for the necessities of his hospitals, and invites people to donate, or to give blood. Beatocello also begins tours in Switzerland several times a year, to collect funds for his foundation.
Beatocello, the artist who plays for the children
In Kantha Bopha hospitals, any care are free for all the children, and the staff is decently paid, to avoid every risk of corruption. Doctors and nurses of the public hospitals are often forced to work several places to be able to feed their family and also improve their salary of twenty dollars a month paying by the Ministry of Health. Doctor Richner fought from the beginning this established fact by paying to his employees up to thirty times the salary of the public service. So, the staff dedicates oneself completely to the hospital, without trying to resell drugs. And especially no one treats the patients against money, as it occurs too often in the other hospitals over the country. Today, the indefatigable doctor Richner is elected as member « Switzerland of the year » in 2003, started the restoration and the increase the first Kantha Bopha hospital in Phnom Penh. As for the hospital Jayavarman VII, at Siem Reap, he will be also very endowed with 300 beds more soon.
A HIV-positive woman who benefits from a treatment three months before term of held pregnancy reduced considerably the risks of transmitting the virus of AIDS to her child.
Kantha Bopha hospitals in figures
Every year they are:
· 70 000 hospitalisations
· 100 000 vaccinations
· 700 000 consultations
· 16 000 operations
· 5 000 Childbirthes
· 1500 Cambodian employees
· 15 million dollars of annual cost among which 50 % for drug’s purchase, 30 % for salaries, 15 % for medical material and maintenance and 5 % for administration.

To make donations please refer to : UBS Union Bank of Switzerland, 8032 Zurich Seefeld - SUISSE, account n° 838570.01Q Fondation Beat Richner : C/O Intercontrol AG, Seefeldstr. 17 8008 Zurich, Suisse Website :

This article is from Google at the rubrique « Beat Richner ».