Sitting in on a Monthly YPAG Meeting
On the last Sunday of every month, an eclectic, excitable, and very green bunch of teenagers gather at AHC. They are dressed in their AHC t-shirts, ‘YPAG’ proudly inscribed on their chest. As more and more green-teens file into the room, they are warmly welcomed by their peers, typical of a group who has been meeting for years. They mingle in smaller groups, gossip amongst themselves, and catch up on all the goings-on since their last meeting, one month earlier.
The scene is evocative of the excitement you’d see on the occasional day when a teacher would opt to teach a class outside of the classroom. But instead of learning staid classroom topics, this group is meeting to discuss the future of children’s health at AHC and Cambodia at large, acting as the voice of those AHC strives to serve, Cambodian children.
YPAG stands for Young Person’s Advisory Group. Its members comprise ex-patients of the hospital, children of AHC staff, aspiring doctors, and children looking to help the community. The group was formed back in 2016, with the aim of giving young people a platform at AHC.
“As AHC is a children’s hospital, it is right for children and young children to have a voice in health provision and management.” – Chansovannara Soputhy, YPAG Coordinator and COMRU Research Assistant
Since YPAG began they have carried out inspections within the hospital, taken part in cultural trips to spread information about AHC, and twice a year, conduct patient satisfaction surveys, presenting the results to the Executive Committee. Last year, the group developed and directed their own theatrical play about antibiotic resistance.
Rinya has been a member of YPAG for over a year. She has recently returned from an influential trip to the US, where she took part in the South East Asia Youth Leadership Program.
“I get to learn and grow as a leader, and help the community at the same time.” – Rinya, YPAG member
Many members of YPAG have similar stories to Rinya. They have promising futures that they are realizing through YPAG.
YPAG has proven to be a success so far within the hospital and community. The group has provided invaluable feedback to AHC and seen many of their ideas become a reality throughout the organisation. Upcoming plans for the group include projects like “Science Talk,” An event designed to create a safe space for young people and AHC’s scientists to have open discussions about science and healthcare. It is all about the opportunity for young people to learn, explore, and reflect on health care topics – another example of the impact AHC is making beyond its walls.