Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the Closing Session of the 40th Health Annual Review Conference [Unofficial Translation]


In addition to the prepared text, Samdech Techo Hun Sen made extempore comments with selected and unofficial translation as followed:

Distribution of Medical Professionals

I continue to call on more efforts and consideration to distribute further medical professionals throughout the country. In about twenty years ago – probably 1996-1997, based on findings by one of my working team, we had discovered that about 70% of medical professionals worked for about 30% of population living in urban area, while one the contrary about 30% of medical professionals worked for 70% of the population living in rural area. I urge concerned departments to find ways to distribute health/medical professionals to every parts of the country and de-concentrate them to where the majority of people’s needs are.

Geographical Consideration for Health and Education

When we implemented policy to measure land for people and issue them titles in 2012, we discovered a number of challenging issues that newly settled population into new lands/locations were facing. Those challenging issues were road connectivity, water (for consumption and for cultivation), education, and health. It is true that we cannot distribute (medical professionals/resources) to every single village but a geographical consideration like that we have been working in education sector would be help. We have identified the need for distribution of schools according to geographical conditions and need. We could think of doing similarly to health to provider better healthcare access to our people.

Health Cooperation among Neighboring Countries

I should not forget to remind the conference that along the borders with our neighboring countries, there would be this situation that our people in need of medical assistance may find it harder to get help by traveling far back inside the country. They may find it closer and quicker to just cross the border for medical attention on the other side. In this understanding, in every negotiation opportunity with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos, and the Kingdom of Thailand, I never forget to talk to them about mutual assistance in medical assistance (that people living along the border may need). It is also a kind of relation that ASEAN is working towards … we are not encouraging people to seek medical assistance abroad but to figure out as to where and how can they find quicker and good medical assistance needed.

Policy of Encouragement for Medical Professionals

I am calling on medical professionals not to concentrate in one place (like in urban area) and serve a small number of people while there are growing demands for medical assistance in other places. To successfully distribute medical professionals to rural areas, there must be consideration in ensuring encouragement policy for medical professionals as we did for educational professionals – such as higher salary or covering cost of their living and residences, etc. In 1980s, some of you may have remembered that we recruited students for medical studies from rural provinces like Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri, Stoeung Treng, Koh Kong, Preah Vihear … with contracts signed with commitment that they would go back to work in their respective provinces after completion of their studies. It turned out that the recruited students were not from those areas but those from Phnom Penh. They did not go back […] to resolve this problem we should give priority to medical professionals in and who are willing to go back and work in those particular provinces. This should be a way to address demand for growing need of medical professionals […]

To Dig Deep on Drug at Rock Entertainment Centre

I think I should talk a bit more on drug related crime at the Rock Entertainment Centre. After my reaction to the problem, I have seen that some actions have been taken. Let me send out this message that the drug case in the Rock nightclub would not be a laissez-faire matter. I do not mean to interfere in court and competent authority’s operations. We need to dig deeper to find out the chieftain behind this crimes that destroy our society. As far as I know there is one more place. They seem to have stayed low profile now. If the operations were to take place at both places, we could have achieved a better result. Deputy Prime Minister Ke Kimyan is here […] these past few days had had this issue of person arrested has disappeared […] this has called on me to have my hands in this case. (We) cannot let the person off […]

Five Approaches to Implement in State and Private Sectors

Drug has destroyed future of many youth and how much, we may ask, has Rock nightclub done so. We cannot bring into punishments only lower ranks and files operating in rooms and drug users. We must be absolute. There is no forgiving. I have affirmed already about the five approaches of “reflecting oneself in mirror, taking a bath, scrubbing off dirt, taking treatment and taking operation.” They are to implement in both the state and private sectors. The whole society must join together in this work. Even if the case would involve any high-rank officials, we will not let go […] we must take actions. It starts from the Rock case to show that we are taking this issue seriously not only with low-rank but high-rank operators, whether in public or private sectors […] I already reveal to everyone our commitment through my decisions to strip off from rank a General in Ratanakiri […] and later two deputy provincial governors […] we need to take out dirt in our shoes to allow us to walk on […]

Higher Number of Addicted Patients Received Treatment Not a Pride

I have listened to the figures of drug addicted persons received treatment. In 2017, there were 4,000 of them. In 2018, the figure went up to 8,000. I do not have the figure here but I listened to the report reading […] this has suggested that the number of addicted person increased and it is not in any way for us to be proud of. It has doubled. According to the drug combating authority reports, persons with addiction arrested has gone high every year. We must seek every mean to destroy the drug operation and we must rework our management system to deal with that. Some hotels have become a place for drug trafficking places.

State Prosecutors Protect State Interests

I urge the court to also use its power properly. I do not mean to infer anything but I am committed to get this done. In court, state prosecutors are under the Minister of Justice […] should the state prosecutors not charge (the person in guilt) they could not be state prosecutors anymore. The Minister of Justice must in his right request HM the King to strip him/her off his/her positions […] if the lower court decided the accused was not guilty, the state prosecutors must immediately bring the case to attention of the court of appeal […] the state prosecutors are representing the state interests and the ones to press charges […] let me clarify that we are thrilled with efforts of our police force to take their action in this matter. We are to keep our eyes on legal procedures. We are not in power to decide the case ourselves. We are executive power […] it is not my warning message to the legal power and court […]./.