Football rules apply across the board. Why is medicine different?
The FIFA's creed… and the WHO's
June 16, 2006 Aussi en français
The FIFA
The same rules apply to each and every team, irrespective of their country of origin. All teams, from poor and rich countries alike, are expected to play quality football.
 
The WHO (World Health Organisation)
Medical equipment and health services must meet country-specific economic realities. In other words, the least quantity and quality of care should be delivered in poor countries while rich countries should enjoy the highest quantity and quality of care.
 
This is unfortunately a reality, as evidenced by the actions of organisations that obey the trend in world health policy. The consequences are disastrous: in many poor countries the current health situation is worse than it was 30 years ago and there is a massive brain drain to rich countries as the medical elite cannot achieve anything with nonexistent resources in their country of origin. Or rather, they cannot achieve anything with the limited and inadequate means that world health policies consider appropriate for poor countries. This shortfall in medical professionals is usually compensated for by second-rate western NGO personnel, who in any case cannot achieve anything with nothing either. Only their salaries are decent (compared to local salaries) but they meet the economic realities of their country of origin.
 
Kantha Bopha: an efficient alternative that works
 
The situation is very different in the four Kantha Bopha Hospitals. For most Cambodians, economic realities mean utter destitution. This is why health care is provided free of charge; but the medical equipment is decent and matches the technical standards achieved in developed countries. Similarly, our local staff is paid decent wages (1650 Cambodian salaried staff and only 2 resident expatriates). Qualified doctors stay, even after we have sent them abroad to Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Boston to complete their professional training. They all come back because here they can make a useful and beneficial contribution. We supply proper and effective medicines of a quality similar to that found in the West rather than cheap and ineffective medicines as the economic realities of the country would demand. This is also the reason why the mortality rate has dropped to 1.1% in the four Kantha Bopha Hospitals, where 75,000 patients are hospitalized and 800,000 outpatients are treated every year.
 
Here is the score
 
If you want to know why, unlike football, medical care for the poor is of lesser quality than medical care for the rich, watch the Infrarouge programme on French TV channel France 2 on June 22, 2006 at 10.30pm after the football game. A short reportage provides insight into this injustice and explains the reasons behind Kantha Bopha's success.
 
We can only perform our work -i.e. provide medical care for 85% of all Cambodian children- with your financial support. We know that in this country, which has been devastated by wars and crisis, this responsibility should lie with Asian and Western Governments alike. We have been waiting and fighting for 14 years for these governments to take their responsibilities. But we haven't stood idly. Otherwise hundreds of thousands of children would have died or become permanently disabled.
 
We continue to fight. In the meantime, every Franc helps us cure, save lives and prevent illnesses. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. In 2005, only 5.5% of the money collected was used for administrative tasks, accounting, auditing by PricewaterhouseCoopers, media releases, thank you letters, reports to donors, etc.
 
Dr. Beat Richner, Kantha Bopha Children's Hospitals
Phnom Penh / Siem Reap Angkor, June 16, 2006

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