Official presentation of USAID-funded Medical Equipment to Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope
- Dr. Prak Piseth Raingsey, Ministry of Health
- Don Featherman, Director, Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope
Distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen
On behalf of USAID, it is my great pleasure to join you today for this special event, as we complete the handover of critical medical equipment to the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope. I would like to thank our colleagues at the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope for organizing today’s event. I would also like to thank our colleagues from the Ministry of Health and the Australian Embassy for joining us as well as commend their combined efforts to improve women’s health in Cambodia.
When the Sihanouk Hospital requested USAID assistance to procure equipment to open a Women’s Health Clinic, we recognized the opportunity to contribute toward improving women’s health in Cambodia. The Sihanouk Hospital provides free medical care to Cambodians who have no other options for care. It is a critical and exemplary mission. To date, the hospital has provided more than one million free patient consultations.
USAID’s assistance to the Sihanouk Hospital was provided through our American Schools and Hospitals Abroad, or ASHA, program -- which provides assistance to schools, libraries, and medical centers outside the United States. Since the inception of the ASHA program, USAID has assisted more than 250 institutions in over 70 countries.
In 2005, USAID began to support an initial expansion and upgrading of the Radiology Suite at the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope in order to allow the hospital to successfully perform patient diagnostics for thousands of needy individuals. Since that initial grant, USAID has continued to support the further expansion and upgrading of the main hospital and its associated clinics’ diagnostics and patient monitoring abilities. Through the ASHA program, USAID has given $450,000 to purchase medical equipment for women’s health.
Cervical cancer remains the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in Cambodia. Recognizing this, the Sihanouk Hospital supports the Ministry of Health’s efforts, through the working group on cervical cancer, to plan a national cervical cancer screening program. Our colleagues from the Australian Embassy are also supporting these efforts, providing funds to conduct training for the midwives of the first pilot project for cervical cancer screening and treatment.
Included in USAID’s support is a digital mammography machine -- the only one of its kind in the country. Most breast cancers are detected in late stages in Cambodia and there are significant obstacles to treatment. For women’s health in general, 88.5% of Cambodian women report “serious problems” accessing health care. The main obstacles cited include: cost of treatment, lack of medically-equipped facilities, and lack of skilled healthcare providers. By working together – development partners, the Ministry of Health, and the Sihanouk Hospital – we are helping to increase access to quality health services, especially for the most vulnerable.
I also want to acknowledge the hospital’s training and outreach programs which extend to 22 of the country’s 24 provinces. The Sihanouk Hospital’s mission to further education and clinical training of medical professionals resonates strongly with USAID as we also seek to build local capacity to strengthen health systems in order to meet the health needs of Cambodia’s most vulnerable.
USAID is pleased to gather here today with our colleagues from the Ministry of Health, the Australian Embassy, and especially the Sihanouk Hospital Center for Hope, to support the efforts of the hospital’s Women’s Health Clinic to improve the health and wellness of women in Cambodia.
Last updated: October 21, 2013