Treatment, Education, Prevention.
Many of the 170,000 treatments provided each year at Angkor Hospital for Children are for preventable illnesses. Poverty is a root cause of a majority of the most commonly seen illnesses at Angkor Hospital for Children: lack of clean drinking water, malnutrition and low prevalence of good sanitation and hygiene practices all contribute to preventable child illness and death. 1 out of every 29 children born in Cambodia will die before his or her fifth birthday–one of the highest child mortality rates in the region.
During the Khmer Rouge regime from 1974-1979, an estimated 1.5 million Cambodians were killed, and the educated classes were target. As a result, there were only 50 medical doctors in Cambodia in 1979, most of whom fled as soon as possible. The healthcare system collapsed; healthcare facilities were decimated and self-sufficiency (including healthcare) became a way of life. Angkor Hospital for Children is playing a part in the system’s recovery by providing healthcare education to students, graduates, medical staff (AHC and government employees) and conducting outreach programs in schools and orphanages. AHC is also working with communities so community stakeholders and families have a better understanding of basic healthcare.
In 1998 there was no children’s hospital in Siem Reap: Angkor Hospital for Children was the first to provide specialised paediatric care services and facilities with trained staff and suitable equipment.
Community healthcare centres and hospitals are often sparsely staffed and equipped so Cambodian families are naturally skeptical and cautious of using their limited funds to access these healthcare facilities: Angkor Hospital for Children is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year and has developed a strong reputation for treating every child like they would treat their own regardless of their ability to pay.
Private facilities and pharmacies are unregistered or unregulated, often providing counterfeit or inappropriate medications: Angkor Hospital for Children is able to provide on-site lab services to ensure each child’s treatment plan is appropriate and is dispensed with high quality, controlled medications.
Families are not seeking treatment early enough and children are dying due to financial barriers: Angkor Hospital for Children’s services are provided regardless of the families’ ability to pay and also reimburses roundtrip travel costs for those who need it. We also provide food and cooking facilities (and nutritious cooking lessons!) as well as a safe place
to sleep for families who do not have anywhere else to go during their child’s treatment.
Traditional models of healthcare treat medical issues but rarely the whole child’s needs: Angkor Hospital for Children Social Work department is the first of its kind, offering in-hospital and at-home counselling to children and families at risk of abandonment, institutionalisation, sexual, physical or emotional abuse or dealing with the emotional toll of HIV/AIDS.
University nursing and medical curricula does not include paediatric speciality training: Angkor Hospital for Children hosts around 400 nursing students and 40 medical residents each year, ensuring that the next generation of medical providers are equipped with knowledge and experience of high quality paediatric healthcare practices.
Government healthcare workers have limited access to training opportunities: Angkor Hospital for Children provides training and on-the-job coaching for community-based health centre nursing staff and hospital doctors in basic and advanced paediatric life-saving skills.
Families lack basic knowledge of hygiene and healthcare: Angkor Hospital for Children works with community stakeholders to conduct information and education sessions on hand-washing, dental care, safe drinking water and rehydration, among others.