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Celebrating International Women’s Day 2018: Say Sopheakneary, Clinical and Research Lead, Saving Babies Lives Programme

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re profiling a few of the wonderful women who work at AHC as doctors, nurses, laboratory specialists, and more.

Say Sopheakneary is a Clinical and Research Lead in the Saving Babies Lives Programme, which is part of the Global Child Health Programme. Originally from Battambang Province, she studied International Relations at Pannasastra University, then went on to complete her medical degree at the International University of Phnom Penh. She followed this up with a Paediatric Certificate from AHC and an International Postgraduate Paediatric Certificate from Sydney University in Australia. She has worked at AHC for four years.

In her day-to-day work, Sopheakneary reviews lectures and works with government staff to improve neonatal care in Preah Vihear Province. She also works in the neonatal unit at AHC in Siem Reap, treating patients in both the general neonatal care unit and neonatal ICU.

She says she loves her work and that, “Normally, [people choose] this career to be directly able to help people, but all health care provider work in different way. As for me, in my work at AHC as a medical resident, I was part of a team that saved many children’s lives. And this year, I joined the Saving Babies Lives Programme and we want to extend this same care and treatment to Preah Vihear province. I hope this project runs smoothly and goes further – that we’re able to not only save lives, but also educate Cambodians about health care, especially in remote and poor areas.”

As to being a woman in her field, she says, “Studying medical science is not prohibited for girls. We have many successful women to look to as role models.” She also says the number of female doctors in Cambodia is increasing each year. At AHC, the percentage of women to complete a Paediatric Certificate increased from 33% in 2017 to 50% in 2018. “Don’t think that being a wife or a mother is a barrier for us. We need to be a smart wife, a smart mother, to thrive in our careers, to be a role model for others, and to be a needed resource for our country.”

She also thinks that women “have very beautiful brains. Why? Because we use our hearts and brains together in decision-making, I believe a part of our brain contains a lot of love and care. So it’s great that we’re a part of providing medical care, especially for children.”

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