Collaborative Medicine, Dentistry & Clean Water
Did you know?
Did you know that in April 1975, when the Pol Pot took over, the first to be killed and persecuted were the "educated elite"? That included the medical professionals, beginning with university professors, medical students, doctors in private or government hospital practice, dentists, nurses, clerical assistants, and in fact anyone that looked learned. If a person wore glasses it indicated they read books or were elite, and were interrogated, if someone acted smart, they were killed, if they spoke more than one language, if they read books or listened to the radio, they were also suspect.
Did you know that the medical infrastructure was practically non-existent for almost 5 years, and that the recovery was very slow after that? Did you know that unless doctors had already fled overseas, or pretended to be peasants, they were effectively killed during the Khmer Rouge period (1975-1979); moreover, hospitals were abandoned, pharmaceuticals were not available, and they say that Cambodia had slipped back to Year Zero
Cambodia has come a long way since the Pol Pot genocide times. The medical infrastructure has been building and there are several universities offering the study of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and other Medical-related training. Cambodia has some very fine doctors, surgeons, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and so on. We must remember that the Health System has to grow exponentially to meet the demands of about 14million, up to 80% of whom live in poor rural areas. This has been difficult to accomplish in such a short span of time
Unfortunately, the supply of medical professionals, hospitals, resources and so on, cannot keep up with the demand. The rural areas are particularly under staffed, and this is coupled with poverty, the existence of land mines, the lack of jobs, and the non-availability of clean water for a healthier life. There are universities, hospitals of all kinds and of various status, trained professionals and availability of pharmaceuticals. Looking through the World Health Organization Statistics, you can see where Cambodia stands in perspective to similar countries in the area, and where it stands vis a vis world statistics. Low birth weight, malnutrition, sexually transmitted diseases, hypertension, mental health problems, and other, are still rampant.
All the above have been the general back drop of our mission work in Cambodia. This is why we provide medical services, dentistry, health education, assistance with clean water, including wells, in a country that deserves attention.
SHE provides medicine, Dentistry, and consultation on healthy living
Medical Services & Pharmacy
We began with Dentistry and Health Education and later added Collaborative Medicine, Pharmacy & Clean Water for Healthy living
Originally, we worked with locally-credentialed physicians & pharmacists, and senior medical students from Cambodia
We now have our own Chief Medical Officer (CMO), USA-trained nurses, and trained pre-med students from UCLA & other universities to support Health Education and basic triage and intake vitals, blood glucose, urinalysis, forced airflow tests, CPR, & other
Common ailments encountered in the field:
Our CMO orders thousands of dollars of medication to treat these ailments and is currently working on continuity of care strategies, after we leave the country.
We continue to develop a sustainable system to refer patients with goiter, hernia, possible TB, burns, cataracts, pterygium, & other serious concerns
We are lucky to have our own Director of Dentistry; over the last 5 years, she has worked alongside local Khmer senior dentistry students, now graduated dentists
Collaboratively, they power our dental services and take care of the young and the older generations’ teeth
As part of sustainability our Khmer team can run missions for SHE independently
Dental screenings along with dental education have resulted in an improvement in dental hygiene
Over the last 5 consecutive years of serving in same locations, there are visible improvements in dental health
We store our own instruments, portable dental chairs, & supplies in Cambodia
Clean Water for Healthy Living & Disease Prevention
More than 80% of rural and semi-rural areas do not have access to clean drinking water. Sanitation practices and adequate sewage are mostly nonexistent or primitive.
Rivers and streams are common sources of water for drinking, cooking, also bathing, washing clothes, and disposing of waste products but are mostly contaminated.
While we emphasize prevention, it is hard to encourage people to brush their teeth, wash their hands, eat fruit and vegetables, when their water sources are mostly contaminated.
Dysentery, malaria, yaws, tuberculosis, trachoma, various skin diseases, and parasitic diseases are common due to the unsanitary nature of these sources.
SHE has launched a “Clean Water for Healthy Living” project
In the last 2 years, we donated 20 wells in a cluster of villages, and have been following up on the progress of the daily lives of locals who have access to them.
We hope to donate more wells and work on more water projects in the future.
Water is life, and clean water means health.
the importance of collaboration & the impact of sustainable health
Our professional healthcare providers from the U.S. work in conjunction with our trained UCLA and other university student volunteers, most of them premedical students, as well as with local medical and dental students, doctors, nurses, and assistants. This way, we can ensure that both the next generation and the current generation of on-site providers are equipped to carry on care in their own communities.
In the past 5 years, we have provided immediate health education, health and vision screenings, disability services and referrals to thousands of individuals in Cambodia. Additionally we have distributed 12,000 pairs of reading glasses and sunglasses, and trained countless others in matters of hygiene and safety, at health fairs, work places, schools, and other settings. This is only achieved by gaining the trust and understanding of the locals and the collaboration of local businesses, community leaders, students, medical professionals, and more.
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, [clean water], and medical care…”
- Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) Article 25