Work has started on the renovation of 32 buildings at the Kampong Thom Provincial Hospital in central Cambodia after a ceremony on Monday, Jan. 16. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ nearly $1.5 million donation to the hospital project for the renovation also includes new equipment, according to the Church’s Cambodia Newsroom.
Elder Kelly R. Johnson, a General Authority Seventy and serving as Asia Area president, said during the announcement of the project on Dec. 7, 2022, that this was one of the largest humanitarian projects in the Asia area.
Kampong Thom Provincial Hospital is a referral hospital, which provides care for all people — particularly the poor and needy. It’s one of three referral hospitals in the rural province and serves more than 850,000 people. The hospital is about 170 kilometers, or 106 miles, north of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.
At the Jan. 16 ceremony, Elder Johnson said: “We are all brothers and sisters, and no matter where we live and because we are brothers and sisters, we have a responsibility to care for each other.”
The hospital renovation will be in three phases, with the first scheduled to be completed in April 2023 and the other two in December 2023, said Dr. Sreng Seng Heang, the provincial hospital director, at the ceremony. The hospital has 150 beds, 180 staff, 28 doctors, 54 nurses, 32 midwives, eight lab technicians and a dentist, according to the Church’s Cambodia Newsroom.
Elder Johnson spoke about the Church’s teachings on fasting and fast offerings. “Although many only give a small amount of money, when millions of members donate a little, we can help many people. Because members sacrifice to make donations, we have a sacred responsibility to help people in a meaningful way.”
He added that healthcare was important to him as he has had children and parents who have needed hospital care and believes good healthcare is essential for all people. Elder Johnson also shared his gratitude for all of those involved with the project, including the healthcare workers, staff and construction team.
Ngoun shared his appreciation for those with the Church who have worked on this project, and also the plan to keep the hospital open during the renovations. With the hospital renovation, new equipment and training, people there can have increased medical care and services without needing to leave the province and travel for medical care.
The opening ceremony was attended by other provincial government officials, including Tan Taychroan, director of cults and religion; Dr. Srey Si, the provincial health director; and Mark Bunhong, the Kampong Thom administrative director. Samnang Sea, president of the Cambodia Association of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Sreng also spoke at the ceremony.
Since 1994, the Church has contributed more than $13 million to humanitarian projects in Cambodia, including working to provide clean water, building bathroom and wash stations, and now healthcare, Sea said at the ceremony.
Kampong Thom Provincial Hospital renovation and equipment donation is part of Cambodia Health Improvement Efforts, or CHIE, including training, equipment and construction projects to help improve healthcare by partnering with government and local healthcare leaders. The Kampong Thom Provincial Hospital project was initiated by humanitarian missionaries Elder Ron Anderson and Sister Kiem Anderson, and will now be managed by Elder Michael Chandler and Sister Tanya Chandler.
2 hospital projects completed in Cambodia
Officials recently celebrated the renovations of the Prey Chhor Referral Hospital and Cheung Prey Referral Hospital in the rural Kampong Cham Province at a handover ceremony on Dec. 9, 2022, reported the Church’s Cambodia Newsroom. The two hospitals are about 20 kilometers, or about 12 miles apart, and are about 100 km, or 62 miles, from Phnom Penh.
The updates include renovated labor and delivery rooms, restrooms and an X-ray suite with new X-ray equipment, a new two-stall wheelchair-accessible bathroom, a six-bed oxygen supply and a stormwater diversion system. Many of the buildings were reroofed, repainted and received wiring upgrades and the main hospital building’s roof has new beams and columns. The hospitals also have new parking lots.
Elder Johnson and other Church officials met with Kampong Cham Province Gov. Un Chanda, and other government officials during the handover ceremony.
“We can complete these projects because it is a team effort,” Elder Johnson said of the partnership with Church leaders and local officials.
The Prey Chhor Hospital project began on May 6, 2022, and was completed on Dec. 9, 2022. The new renovations will help 132,000 rural Cambodians.
At the Cheung Prey Referral Hospital, Elder Johnson participated in the handover ceremony with Vice Gov. Srey Sopheak; Vice Gov. Lao Chanly; Kim Sour Phirum, the director of health; the hospital director and other Church officials.
There are about 15,600 members in 28 congregations, including 10 wards and 18 branches in Cambodia, along with one mission. The Phnom Penh Cambodia Temple was announced in October 2018, and construction began in September 2021.
Project Hope in Malaysia
In East Malaysia, the Church and Rotary Club Bintulu Central are working together on the Project Hope initiative to improve healthcare in rural or outlying communities so residents don’t need to travel long distances for services.
Through Project Hope, 224 new medical devices are being donated and delivered to 129 rural clinics and hospitals in the states of Sarawak and Sabah, the Church’s Malaysia Newsroom reported on Jan. 25.
The equipment includes sonography machines, delivery beds, ventilators, refrigerators for storing blood, portable pulse oximeter devices and cardiograph machines.
There are more than 10,700 Church members across 28 branches in Malaysia.