Behind the scenes: taking care of equipment that keeps the hospital running » Angkor Hospital for Children

I want to go back

Behind the scenes: taking care of equipment that keeps the hospital running

Peter Keen, a medical technologist from the UK, has volunteered at AHC four times. He’s been instrumental in creating procedures to properly install, test, and maintain medical equipment; manage inventory and suppliers; train the maintenance team; and organise the maintenance department workshop. On a previous trip, he wrote a three-year plan for all medical equipment at AHC and he’s back now to see how things are progressing, re-prioritise (if necessary), see what else needs to be purchased or replaced, and provide support to the Maintenance team.

He says he’s seen massive changes at AHC. “We now have a nice workshop compared with the dark dusty place I first came to. I have had a part in its design. Also many new parts of AHC have been configured during my times here.”

When Peter first came to AHC, he noticed instances of equipment being passed between patients, something that can potentially lead to the spread of infection. He also saw a lot of donated equipment that was no longer supported by manufacturers because it had been superseded. Coming from a UK hospital he was unaccustomed to this, but he quickly set about making things better. He called manufacturers directly to negotiate the supply of spare parts and obtain service manuals, he tested each piece of equipment, he worked with the maintenance team to write maintenance procedures and schedules, and much more.

He says his biggest project at AHC was creating the three-year plan because of the number of items of equipment belonging to AHC and the lack of correct up-to-date information in the database. “I had to physically go round and check all the equipment. I then had to contact manufacturers to see what was available to support the items.”

It was hard, time-consuming work, but the payoff was worth it, he says. “My favourite time at AHC was seeing the procedures I wrote put into use and kept in use and to see the increase in facilities at the hospital. [AHC] now offers all the features you would expect in a UK general hospital.”

Besides the satisfaction he gets from working at AHC, Peter enjoys exploring Siem Reap and Cambodia. During his many trips here, he’s travelled all over the country. “I have been trekking in the jungle, visited Koh Kong island, trekked with the elephants in Mondulkiri, been around many archaeological site like Angkor, Koh Kea, Kulen Mountain, Bang Mealea, Preah Vihear, gone bird watching on the Tonle Sap, and visited the floating village.”

He’s also developed friendships with AHC staff and visited them at their homes in and around Siem Reap and in Battambang Province. He says, “I love the people in Siem Reap. They have beautiful smiles and are kind and friendly.”

We hope to welcome Peter back at AHC for many years to come.

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