Remarks by Ambassador William A. Heidt at the Dedication Ceremony for Kampong Cham Regional Blood Center and Hospital Laboratory

(As Prepared for Delivery)
Kampong Cham
February 16, 2016

His Excellency Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health, His Excellency Lun Lem Thai, Governor of Kampong Cham Province, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you very much for inviting me to participate in this ceremony today.  Today is a proud day for Cambodia that shows the progress this country has made developing its health system in the past 15 years.

I remember very well the situation in Cambodia when I worked at the American Embassy in the late 1990s.  Back then, the idea that Kampong Cham  could have its own regional blood center and a laboratory with advanced capabilities to diagnose diseases was almost unthinkable.  Now, thanks to the hard work of many Cambodians and their close cooperation with international partners, these sophisticated medical facilities are a reality.

For nearly 20 years the United States has worked side by side with the government and people of Cambodia to develop the national health system.  This new Regional Blood Center will provide a blood supply to help victims of serious traffic accidents who lose blood, save mothers who suffer severe bleeding during childbirth, and guard against the spread of blood-borne illnesses.

In addition, the expanded Kampong Cham Hospital Laboratory will make the diagnosis of dangerous diseases like malaria, influenza, and dengue fever much faster, helping doctors give the right treatment for patients to get better faster.

First and foremost, I would like to thank His Excellency Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health, and His Excellency Lun Limthai, Kampong Cham Provincial Governor, for their leadership.  I would also like to thank Dr. Hok Kimcheng, Director of the National Blood Transfusion Center, and Ms. Nhem Somary, Chief of the Kampong Cham Hospital Lab.

Finally, I would like to thank all of Cambodia’s international partners, in particular the United States Pacific Command and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, or DTRA.

On behalf of the United States, let me express our continued commitment to helping you improve health care for the benefit of all Cambodians.

Thank you very much.