The Story

Dr. Beat Beatocello Richner

Beat Richner was born in Zurich on March 13, 1947.
 
After receiving his medical degree in 1973 he specialised in paediatrics at the Zurich Children's Hospital. In 1974/75 he was sent to Cambodia by the Swiss Red Cross (SRC) to work at the Kantha Bopha Children's Hospital. His mission came to an abrupt end when the Khmer Rouge invaded the country. Dr. Richner was forced to return to Switzerland, where he took up his former position at the Zurich Children's Hospital. In 1980 he opened his own practice in Zurich, which he shared with a fellow practitioner.
 
Whilst pursuing his medical career, Beat Richner developed in 1972 the character of BEATOCELLO, an artistic role which he would slip into from time to time and which might best be described as that of a poetic and musical comedian or clown. He has given countless performances, mostly in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, but also abroad. Beat Richner has also published a number of books with simple line-drawings -mostly children's books- to accompany his performances and his musical poetic stories.
1975 in Phnom Penh working for the Red Cross Intl.

Beatocello at the Paradeplatz Zurich, 1978

Kantha Bopha I, the first hospial
In December 1991 Dr. Richner was asked by the Cambodian government to rebuild and manage the Kantha Bopha Children's Hospital, which had been destroyed during the war; once again, his life took a sudden turn, he accepted the job. In March 1992 he created a foundation in Zurich, moved to Phnom Penh and began with the actual reconstruction work. On 2 November 1992 Kantha Bopha Children's Hospital was back in operation. Over the following years the hospital was progressively extended and modified to meet the most urgent needs of its patients.
 
Inauguration Kantha Bopha 1
September 22nd,1992
 J. P. Delamuraz, King Norodom Sihanouk
at the inauguratsion of Kantha Bopha 2, 1996
Kantha Bopha II, the second hospial
1995 the hospital Kantha Bopha I became overcrowded, with more than 1,000 outpatients every day and over 350 hospitalisations. King Norodom Sihanouk offered land at his Royal Palace in Phnom Penh to build a new hospital. On 12 October 1996 the second Children's Hospital was inaugurated in the presence of King Norodom Sihanouk and Jean-Pascal Delamuraz, president of the Federal Council of Switzerland.
Jayavarman VII, the third hospital
On March 9th 1998 land was donated by Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, on the initiative of H.E. Cham Prasidh, Minister of Commerce, to build a third children's hospital in Siemreap near the temple of Angkor. Dr. Beat Richner's third children's hospital opened on March 31, 1999 as an annex of Kantha Bopha I&II. As in these hospitals, all treatment is free of charge for every child. It has a large prevention and health education center, a large outpatient station and extensive facilities four inpatient care and the proper treament of very sick children whose lives are in danger. The design of the new hospital is the result of the seven year's runing experience of Kantha Bopha Children's Hospital in Phnom Penh. It could serve as a global model of how to build and organize a hospital facing similar conditions.
Hospital Jayavarman VII, 1999
Maternity ward for HIV positive mothers
At the inauguration of the Jayavarman VII Children's Hospital in Siem Reap, Samdech Hun Sen, prime minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, announced in the presence of King Norodom Sihanouk that the government would give additional land for the hospital (more--->) Thanks to a number of several specific private donations, Beat Richner was able to build and complete a maternity ward for HIV positive mothers adjacent to the Jayavarman VII hospital in Siem Reap Ankor. The inauguration took place on October 9, 2001. In March 2005 an extension to the Jayavarman VII was opened providing 350 additional beds.

Kantha Bopha IV
By 2004 the Kantha Bopha I hospital in Phnom Penh had become too small and two of its three buildings were in a very bad and dangerous condition. Without a new building, Kantha Bopha I could not function any longer. The construction of a new hospital started on 3 August 2004 after having bought some land adjacent to the Wat Phnom. The new Kantha Bopha IV children's hospital was inaugurated on December 29, 2005.
One of three Kantha Bopha I's buildings continued to be used and the others were evacuated and later restored. Kantha Bopha IV is connected with the old Kantha Bopha I.
 
The hospital has 555 beds, 4 surgical operating rooms, two intensive care units, a fully equipped laboratory with a blood bank, an imaging department (X Ray, 4 Ultrasounds and a CT Scanner) a large pharmacy, an outpatient station and a prevention center. The total costs of built this Hospital was 15 million USD. Beat Rcihner asked the Swiss people to contribute by donating a twenty-franc note each (Aktion Zwaenzger Noetli 2004). This campaign collected enough money to action enough money to finalise this undertaking. The campaign who was supported by schoolchildren and people all over Switzerland.
 
Kantha Bopha V, The latest hospital in Phnom Penh (2007).
Soon after the inauguration of Kantha Bopha IV, the hospital became overcrowded and in 2006 the amount of hospitalized patients in Phnom Penh had increased by 50%. We decided to build Kantha Bopha V, which was inaugurated on 28 december 2007 in thr presence of his Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni together with Samdech Hun Sen and high ranking members of the royal government of Cambodia. The new Kantha Bopha V has a prevention station, x-ray, fluoroscopy, ultrasound, laboratories and 9 units with 34 bed (About 300 beds in total). in addition to this we have a conference room and a medical library. The costs were 9 million USD.
 Kantha Bopha IV, 2004
December 30th, 2008
An extension at the Jayavarman VII hospital in Siem Reap was inauguratd by Dr. Beat Richner in the presence of King Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen. The extension is already in use.
Specifications:
It has 200 beds, a laboratory, a pharmacy and a radiology department. (Foto tight side)

"Kolnidrey" at the Mekong in 1996
Kantha Bopha has become a highly respected model for the entire Southeast Asian region. It shows how efficient direct medical and humanitarian aid -i.e. correct medication unhampered by corruption, combined with targeted long-term training - can be in curative and preventive medicine as well as in research. Most of the funding comes from private individuals in Switzerland who make spontaneous donations for Kantha Bopha, very often straight after one of BEATOCELLO's performances.
1996 in Kantha Bopha 2
Over the last 22 years
 the Kantha Bopha hospitals have treated
 11.9 Million outpatients & 1.51 Million seriously ill children requiring hospitalisation.

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