Updates on Cambodia

Right after returning from Siem Reap, we were on a bus again but this time heading to the small city of Pursat. The weekend was pretty chill, Julia and I went out to eat, then washed and air dried our clothes while catching up with our other One World participants. We headed to the Russian Market where we bought traveler backpacks for our future trips (although I ended up with the fake looking one). We left Phnom Penh at 2pm for a four hour bus ride to Pursat. We were traveling with a midwife from the Safe Motherhood department of RACHA who also found us a place to stay. After eating some low quality food (there is no restaurants) we walked through the rain to our hotel. Sadly there was no free internet like in Siem Reap so it was just us, our books, and the television. I was happy actually because this gave me a lot of time to read my novel. I am currently reading this book called The White Man’s Burden by William Easterly, a famous economist professor from New York University. The book is Easterly’s criticism of current economic development plans and programs. This is Easterly’s rebuttal book to Jeffery Sachs’, Director of the UN’s Millennium Development Program, book called The End of Poverty. So far the book is very interesting and provides a lot of good points. The fact that I find this book to be very interesting reassures me that I may be leaning toward a career in development. Anyways, the purpose of our trip to Pursat was to observe the training of trainers on new material and information on maternal health, child birthing, and newborn care.

Monday June 21st
We woke up early to head down the hall to the hotel meeting room for the training. Inside the room were over 20 midwives and a doctor employed by provisional offices, a RACHA rep, an USAID rep, and UNICEF rep. The training would last 5 days and provided new information for the participants about maternal and newborn health. They would then take what they learned in this training and train the other midwives and doctors that worked at the health centers. Topics that were being discussed today were: quick check, emergency treatment, family planning, postpartum care, and preventive measures such as micronutrients. As mentioned earlier, there is a big push by the government to have child births occur at a health center instead of at home. In Cambodia the major cause of deaths for mothers is hemorrhages, infection, and eclampsia (convulsions). There is no way to predict these problems and if the problem arises emergency care is needed immediately. Traditional birth attendants performing the births at home aren’t capable of dealing with these problems and they will not be able to make it to the HC in time. This is why births need to be performed in a health facility. After training was over for the day, Julia and I went to visit the regional RACHA office in Pursat and talk to the director about observing activities. He agreed to have us visit a quality improvement assessment at a local health center. For dinner we had kebabs and Julia tried a duck egg with a maturing fetus (ewwww!) then we headed home and to bed.

Tuesday June 22nd
We woke up early to head to a local health center for their quality improvement assessment of the center. This was different than the tours we had in Siem Reap. They dropped us off at the health center with no translator, so we had to depend to a local nurse to translate for us. The QI assessment is a way of checking that the HC is doing what they are suppose to do and are performed once a year. The RACHA worker talks to the HC about its activities. For this HC they checked Medicine, OPD, surgery, TB, pharmacy, accounting, lab, GYN, testing (HIV and STI), and vaccination. For each department they checked: staff, materials, hygiene, and documents. I got all that in the first hour but we had to stay there for the entire day! Well we ate, sleep, and updated our blogs until the truck came back with the director who took us back home. We decided that our trip to Pursat was limited compared to Siem Reap and decided to head back on the following day. We ate dinner at this restaurant/ brothel (very interesting) and packed in order to leave the next day.

Wednesday June 23rd
Our bus wasn’t until 1:30pm that afternoon so we decided to attend another part of the training in the morning before heading out. Arriving in Phnom Penh later that night, we unpacked, had dinner with the rest of the One World Foundation, and went to sleep.

Thursday June 24th
We headed to the RACHA office in Phnom Penh to meet with the Team Leader for the Infectious Disease department. We had nothing else to do so we decided to read over some RACHA material and catch up on our blogging.

Saturday June 26th
Today was amazing! Julia and I went to the central market where I bought a cute sunglasses and a nice top. Then we headed next door to the shopping center where I fell in love! From now on I am buying all of my gifts there! I found a plethora of purses, watches, DVDs and electronics. I then spent the rest of the night watching all the TV shows I bought…..oh happy day 🙂

Now: Well After that week, Julia and I decided to stay in Phnom Penh to rest. I was suppose to go to Kampot later that week to conduct data surveys for a potential motherhood program but I got sick so I couldn’t go. For the final month, we decided to stay in Phnom Penh so we could make assesments of health programs we saw the previous month. I decided that I would write a report about the Health Communication’s Comedy for Health program. More details later……