China-funded ‘friendship hospital’ set to boost healthcare in Cambodia

The hospital consists of a main building, a paediatric department and an administrative block (State Council Information Office)

A five-storey hospital in the eastern Cambodian town of Tboung Khmum was officially opened this week by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Wang Wentian, China’s ambassador to Phnom Penh.

The China Railway Construction Group built the Cambodia-China Friendship Tboung Khmum Hospital over 32 months on a 24,300 sq m site. The Chinese government financed the hospital with a $50m grant.

Hun Sen said the 300-bed hospital was a “testament to the fruitful cooperation between Cambodia and China” and would improve healthcare in the east and northeast of the country.

The hospital has a wide catchment area including the provinces of Kratie, Ratanakiri, Stung Treng and Mondulkiri. It will employ 350 doctors and nurses.

At present, rural communities in these provinces have to travel to Phnom Penh to access some types of care because local clinics are unable to treat many life-threatening illnesses and injuries. The new facility will have a large maternity and paediatrics department, housed in a separate building to the general hospital.

Most states in Southeast Asia have sought to keep their northern neighbour at arm’s length, while at the same time making the most of trade and investment opportunities. Cambodia has long been China’s closest partner in the region, followed more recently by Laos.

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