News Release

Asia's Largest Humanitarian Project Commences in Cambodia

Kampong Thom Provincial Hospital renovation opened with a ceremony celebrating the commencement of the project.

ដើម្បីអានជាភាសាខ្មែរ សូមចុច នៅទីនេះ

On January 16, 2023, an opening ceremony was held for the Kampong Thom Provincial Hospital renovation and equipment project in Cambodia, which was made possible by a nearly US$1.5 million donation from The Church of Jesus Chrsit of Latter-day Saints. Elder Kelly R. Johnson of the Church's Asia Area Presidency, along with other Asia Area officials, traveled to Kampong Thom to take part in the ceremony with His Excellency (H.E.) Governor Ngoun Ratanak and other Cambodian government officials. This was Elder Johnson's second visit to the hospital after making the special announcement of the project on December 7, 2022 in the presence of H.E. Gov. Ngoun.

Work has now commenced on the project, which originated from humanitarian missionaries involved in Cambodia Health Improvement Efforts (CHIE) who volunteer their time to help improve healthcare for the poor and needy in the country. As one of Asia’s largest humanitarian projects, the Kampong Thom Provincial Hospital renovation and equipment project comprises the renovation of the hospital complex, covering work and renovation of 32 various structures, in addition to new hospital equipment. Kampong Thom is one of only three referral hospitals in the province serving more than 850,000 people. The referral hospitals provide care for all people, particularly the poor and needy of this rural province.

The opening ceremony was attended by other provincial government officials such as the Director of Cults and Religion, Tan Taychroan, the Provincial Health Director, Dr. Srey Sin, the Provincial Hospital Director, Dr. Sreng Seng Heang, and the Kampong Thom Administrative Director, Mark Bunhong. Speakers at the opening ceremony included Elder Johnson, H.E. Gov. Ngoun, Dr. Sreng, and President of the Association of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Samnang Sea.

It was a happy day for Dr. Sreng as he addressed the governor, honored guests, and audience members. He detailed how the renovations would be completed in three phases. He also described the size and scope of the hospital with its 150 beds, 180 staff, 28 doctors, 54 nurses, 32 midwives, eight lab technicians, and a single dentist. Phase one of the project is scheduled for completion in April 2023 and the remaining phases are to be completed by December 2023. A month ago when the announcement was made, Dr. Sreng had been emotional and full of joy at the announcement made by the Church that it was proceeding with the renovation and equipment project. As hospital director, he continued to show his excitement for the project.

President Sea noted in his remarks that the Church is serving 158 countries worldwide. He gave a brief history of the humanitarian efforts of the Church in Cambodia since 1994, starting with clean water, bathrooms, and wash station projects and now improvements in healthcare with projects totaling more than US$13 million dollars in the past four years.

Opening his speech by expressing thanks for everyone attending, 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. One way that we care for each other is through fasting. Members go without food for two meals and give that amount as a donation to help other people. 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.”

Elder Johnson shared that many on the stand today were volunteers who give their time and pay their way to be there and help others. 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. He said, “I view this project as a wonderful opportunity to lift and bless the lives of so many in this province.” He ended by thanking all those who are involved in this project: the healthcare workers, staff, construction team, and all who are working to make the facility a wonderful place to receive care. Mentioning the "wonderful privilege" it is to work with them all, Elder Johnson also invited the audience to “look for ways to help our fellow brothers and sisters around us.”

H.E. Gov. Ngoun concluded the ceremony by addressing the honored guests and audience, thanking the Association for all their work and efforts, especially in creating a plan to help keep the hospital open while renovations are taking place. He stated that the people can have a beautiful hospital and have increased care and services provided so they no longer have to leave the province and travel to receive care. He highlighted that not only are the buildings being renovated but equipment are also being provided. Training too will be given with the equipment and with the knowledge that the staff will receive, healthcare will be improved and bless many people. The healthcare workers will have pride in the new facilities and patients will receive improved healthcare in the hospital.

Both Elder Johnson and H.E. Gov. Ngoun expressed that they were looking forward to returning to the hospital to see the project completed in December 2023 and witness how the lives of the residents will be blessed by this project. 

The project originated from the efforts of Elder Ron and Sister Kiem Anderson, and will now be managed by Elder Michael and Sister Tanya Chandler, who serve as humanitarian missionaries seeking to help relieve the suffering of people of all nationalities and religions with CHIE.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.