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In order that the Kantha Bopha hospitals can continue their work with Cambodian children in the future and help to strengthen the capacities of the Cambodian health system, the SDC is planning to increase its financial contribution by 33%. The new cooperation agreement between the SDC and the Kantha Bopha Hospitals Foundation (KBH), which brings Switzerland's aid to a total of CHF 4 million a year, will enter into force on January 2013. This agreement will cover the period 2013 to 2015.
The SDC is thus increasing its support for the outstanding work of Dr Richner, which contributes to the survival and to the carer of thousands of Cambodian children every year. Today 85% of hospitalisations of children in Cambodia take place free of charge at Kantha Bopha, while 40% of the Cambodian population lives below the poverty level, 40% of children suffer from malnutrition and maternal mortality is high.
To date the SDC contribution to the Kantha Bopha hospitals is one of the largest financial contributions to a bilateral project, totalling almost CHF 40 million since the beginning of aid in 1994. To ensure the continuation of the work and the extraordinary commitment of Dr Richner, the SDC considers it necessary to ensure a stronger finance base for the Kantha Bopha hospitals apart from private donations and the contributions of the Swiss and the Cambodian governments. The paediatric hospitals not only help to improve child health in Cambodia but also contribute to the training of medical and nursing staff working in health structures throughout the country. They therefore represent a key element in the Cambodian health system.
Switzerland currently contributes to the Kantha Bopha hospitals and to Swiss NGOs in Cambodia and is now preparing a substantial cooperation programme in the country. Cambodia, together with Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar, has in fact been proposed as a co-operation country for the SDC in the framework of the Regional Cooperation Strategy for the Mekong (2013 to 2017). The work of the SDC in the region concentrates on poor and disadvantaged populations in rural areas, the aim being to reduce poverty and inequalities. By its development cooperation, Switzerland is contributing to social peace and to stability throughout the region.
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