While there are educational facilities in Cambodia that teach medicine, nursing and other health related topics, the cost of attending is beyond what most Cambodians can afford. Not only must the student pay for tuition, books and fees but also must still have a way to contribute to the family budget.
We believe that the long range benefit of providing a rural community with a trained and dedicated medical person is the best value. Drs. Bill and Lori Housworth now located in Kratie and operating a childrens clinic, can help us further our goal of providing high quality clinical experience.
Through our trips to Kratie, we have had a translator who wishes to start a domestic violence reduction program for the elderly. We are currently supporting him during his studies in the PhD program for Social Justice.
Through our contacts in Cambodia, we have identified the best education programs in the country and candidates for those programs who lack the finances to enroll. We estimate that it takes $4000/year to support a full time student.
Providing Primary Care is the most resource intensive part of what we do- we bring all medical supplies, educational materials and medication with us. We must have translators for each team member and in-country transportation to move all of us from location to location. We also provide transportation to patients and a family member if there is a need to send the patient to a hospital in Phnom Penh.
We developed a basic record keeping system that allows us to monitor patients yearly.
Patients who are put on diabetes and/or hypertension medication are given a small notebook where we note vital signs and medications given. Increasingly, more patients bring back their notebook each year allowing us to adjust treatment.
Drawing on health education resources in the US Cambodian health care community and in Phnom Penh, we have developed education programs on hand washing, brushing teeth, foot care,diet and basic diabetes information that we present to the people waiting for care at our clinics.
We are committed to including a few students who are pursuing careers in health care on our teams. It is an unparalleled opportunity to learn new skills, to understand the richness of what we have in the US vs other countries and to perhaps be inspired to return. We have asked students to prepare educational materials in advance of the trip that make sense in the Cambodian culture.
We will continue to add students as part of our teams. It is an unparalled learning experience.
We will return to Kratie and work with Drs. Bill and Lori Houseman to develop a program of combined pediatric and adult clincs as well as a program of clinic staff education. We have been invited to the Kratie Province by the Provincial Health Director who makes the Kratie Hospital and the outlying clinics available to us for primary care clinics. During our most recent trip (January 2016, we saw over 1600 patients with a team of 8. While our focus is on diabetes and hypertension in the adult population, we see patients of all ages. We are now planning for 2017 and know that we must increase our focus on clinic staff education and support. Working with the Housmans, we will develop our plan for 2017 and beyond.
Cambodian health care workers at the clinics trust us. Now, we must provide more education.
They ask questions about what we are doing and are interested in the medications that we bring. We leave behind patient educational materials. Thanks to the generosity of our key donor, NiPro, we have enough meters and strips to use during clinics and to leave behind for patient follow up testing by clinic staff.