The David Whittet Foundation
Cambodia Project Blog & Podcast

Understanding the needs of the project community

Asian-Children

Our current priority in developing the Cambodia project is to accurately identify the health needs of the project community.

We have found significant differences in the morbidity pattern in the Samrong Tong area population compared with the Orissa community on which the project healthcare model is based. That is why it is vital that we have as many local health care professionals as possible in the field who can develop and shape our project model to truly address the health needs of the community. As previously reported, this has proved particularly difficult, especially in the current economic climate. We have a recruitment drive in progress and hope to redefine the project aims and structure with the input of the team in the field.

We feel a sense of urgency in progressing this work. The children of the project area are amongst the most disadvantaged on our planet.

Project update

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A Cambodian girl contemplates her lot in life on top of a water buffalo.

I began the project to develop family medicine in rural Cambodia at the request of a group of professors of general practice in rural Cambodia who were keen to use the model we had developed in India. Initial research suggested striking similarities in the health needs of the project area in India and the proposed communities in Cambodia. Our plan was to again use open air mobile clinics to reach a maximum number of people with minimal set up costs.

Regrettably, many of the factors which worked so strongly in our favour in India are proving obstacles in Cambodia. Securing access to suitable sites for the mobile clinics and most significantly recruiting local medical staff is difficult. I have a great team of enthusiastic volunteers, but for the project to be sustainable, it is essential that the service is provided by local health professionals. We are working on incentives and a recruitment campaign so that we can address this issue.

The Samrong Tong region is one of the poorest in Cambodia with many children below the absolute poverty level. It is vital to improve the health and quality of life of some of the most disadvantaged people on our planet.