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Pneumonia in China Sparks Preventative Action in Cambodia, Health Ministry Says

The ministry in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province said that as of January 5, Wuhan city had reported 59 people infected – including seven with serious conditions.

PHNOM PENH — Cambodia’s Ministry of Health on Friday issued a warning of an “unidentified pneumonia” that was first reported in China, calling Cambodians to be alert.

In a press release, the ministry said there is no reported case of the disease in Cambodia and added it is “closely monitoring” the situation after receiving information from the World Health Organization.

The disease was first reported on December 31, 2019, in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province, the ministry statement said. The ministry said that as of January 5, Wuhan city had reported 59 people infected – including seven with serious conditions.

Or Vandin, secretary of state at the Ministry of Health and its spokesperson, told VOA Khmer that the ministry had deployed thermal image scanner devices for passengers going in and out of Cambodia.

“Even though there’s currently no case of the disease in Cambodia, the ministry has put thermal image scanner devices at three airports: Phnom Penh International Airport, Sihanoukville International Airport, and Siem Reap International Airport,” she said. “Our quarantine team at these international gateways are closely monitoring for any suspicious cases.”

The ministry has also set up quarantine rooms at Phnom Penh’s Khmer-Soviet, Preah Sihanouk and Siem Reap provincial hospitals.

Ky Santy, director of Kantha Bopha children’s hospital in Phnom Penh, told VOA Khmer that they’ve have been informed of the press release. “So far there have been no children with any suspicious case,” he told VOA Khmer.

“There has been no case as described in the press release by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization. We closely monitor the situation and saw no such case. We currently only see regular pneumonia cases,” he said.

Ky Santy said the hospital would work closely with the Ministry of Health and Center for Disease Control to stay abreast of any development.

On January 9, the World Health Organization’s press release stated that it will continue to monitor the pneumonia cases in Wuhan and would work to provide technical support to China “to investigate and respond to this outbreak.”

Cambodia’s Ministry of Health appealed to the public for better hygiene and to avoid cross-contamination with seafood markets and animal farms where deadly viruses often dwell.





Health Care


Healthcare Resource Guide: Cambodia Cambodia Statistics



Market Entry

Current Market Trends

Main Competitors

Current Demand

Registration Process


Trade Events

Best Prospects

CS Contacts

Capital: Phnom PenhPopulation: 14.68 million (2013)

GDP: US$18,502million (2015)

Currency: Khmer Riel

Language: Khmer


The Cambodian health market is comprised of a wide variety and range of health-care providers, including public health facilities, pharmacies, private hospitals, and medical professional services operating from their own facilities or traveling directly to patients’ homes. Two-thirds of public health staff also work separately in some private capacity. NGO-run health facilities and charitable hospitals also provide services. Qualified private providers and pharmacies are mostly available in urban areas. In 2015, there were approximately 2,000 registered pharmacies, 300 drug import/export companies, and 13 medical manufacturing institutions in Cambodia. There are also informal health providers which include vendors selling drugs from shops or markets, traditional birth attendants, and traditional healers.

The public sector is dominant in promotion and prevention activities for essential reproductive, maternal, neonatal and pediatric health, and major communicable diseases control. However, private practitioners remain popular for curative care. According to the 2010 Cambodian Demographic and Health Survey, only 29% of sick or injured patients sought care first at public sector facilities, while 57% sought care from private health providers. Most high income and some middle-income people seek medical treatment abroad for emergency cases, primarily in Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore.

While government funding for health care has increased significantly to 12% of total government budget, it remained at only 1.4% of GDP in 2013. Official development assistance accounted for 15% to 20% of total health care funding. Out-of-pocket payments (household expenditure on healthcare), mostly for private health care services, totaled 61% of the total health expenditures.

Market Entry

Cambodia allows 100% foreign ownership of businesses. However, to better enter the Cambodian market, it is recommended that U.S. companies work with local partners (agents or distributors) who have good experience and knowledge of the local market, rules, and regulations. A reputable local partner is also key to maintaining good relationships with local customers whose procurement decisions are influenced mostly by trust.

Current Market Trends

The Ministry of Health is the single largest purchaser of drugs, medical supplies, and medical equipment, though as a whole the proportion of healthcare provided by the private sector exceeds that of public institutions. A number of new private hospitals and clinics have opened in the past few years, and more are expected in the future.

The dental market is gaining increased interest from medical tourists from developed countries such as Japan, Australia, and the Middle East. Approximately 20 dental clinics in Phnom Penh are operating in accordance with international standards, with appropriate ISO certification and western-trained dentists.

Over the last decade, the Cambodian population has become more knowledgeable about the importance of health care and health supplements, and nutrition products are becoming more popular.

Main Competitors

The main competitors of U.S. medical device companies are from Japan and European countries, mainly Germany. Consumable health care products from China are also very competitive in the market.

Companies from Australia, New Zealand, U.K, Germany, the Czech Republic, Korea and Japan also market health supplements in Cambodia.

Current Demand

Medical devices with the best sales prospects in Cambodia include diagnostic devices and imaging equipment such as ultrasound machines, x-ray machines, and TC scanners.


The demand for supplement products has increased in the last several years, particularly in Phnom Penh and the larger provincial towns in Cambodia. Two major U.S. supplement brands have gained popularity in Cambodia recently: Unicity and Herbalife.

Registration Process

Imported medicines and medical products must be registered at the Ministry of Health for laboratory testing.

Medical devices are divided into four categories according to their levels of risk (low, fairly low, fairly high, and high). The minimum required documents for registration include an application form, GMP or ISO certificates, a free sale certificate, a letter of authorization, and the product’s manual. Registration of the latter three categories also requires registration certificates from the country of export, an analysis report from the manufacturer, and technical documents. The product registration process should normally take three to six months. However, it might take up to 10 months to one year depending on the Ministry of Health’s product registration work load. The registration certificate is valid for three years from the date of issuance. The company must re-apply for a new registration certificate six months before the expiration of the previous certificate. All imported pharmaceutical products are required to have at least 18 months validity before the expiry date.


There are no specific barriers for foreign firms to import medical products into Cambodia. Three types of pharmaceutical products are restricted in Cambodia: narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, and precursors. Medical importers need to send their products to the Ministry of Health for testing to determine if they fall under any specific restrictions.

Trade Events

There are currently no health fairs or related trade events scheduled to take place in Cambodia.

Local Associations

Government Links


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Health Care

Health insurance in Cambodia

The importance of medical evacuation

Much of Cambodian health care is provided privately and can be paid for in cash. However, the majority of complicated or specialised procedures are either very expensive or entirely unavailable, making comprehensive cover including medivac highly advisable.

There is no national health insurance available in Cambodia, instead the best option is to take out a policy in your home country or with an international provider. Whilst general health care is reasonably inexpensive, standards are also very variable and services may be extremely limited in certain areas.

This increases the possibility of the necessity of medical evacuation to the nearest advanced providers of Bangkok and Singapore. However, this process of evacuation can be extremely expensive, and therefore it’s strongly recommended you ensure your policy includes medivac. Within this policy it should cover the eventuality of having to be airlifted in the case of serious illness or injury.

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