Why we need the medical clinics in the villages of Cambodia.
The development and progress of Cambodian life is slowly improving, but it has a long way to go. It is still heavily reliant on foreign aid.
The population is largely rural with all the usual difficulties of reaching all areas. Farming is a seasonal occupation, with little alternative work out of season.
There are health centres scattered all around the country. We’re told that every village has a health facility within ten kilometres. However, the staff are not well paid and supplies regularly run out. Because of this the staff will charge patients for services that should be free. Because supplies and medicines run out the patients often have to buy their own. The poor cannot afford any of this and so usually don’t bother going for medical treatment. They will use traditional medicines and treatment often to their detriment.
Lack of understanding about good hygiene, and a lack of facilities, e.g., toilets and clean drinking water, all contribute to poor health and slow recovery from illness. UNICEF stats say 35% have no access to safe water and 72% don’t have adequate sanitation.
Poor nutrition goes hand in hand with poverty. UNICEF stats on health and mortality are improving but still scary.
9% of infants are born underweight.
Infant mortality is 69 in 1000.
Under 5yrs mortality is 90 in 1000.
Only 35% of mums initiate early breast feeding (this is a cultural issue).
35% under 5yrs have severe to moderate malnutrition.
Average life expectancy is around 60years.
Based on our own observations, a nutrition program for mal-nourished and at-risk babies of up to two years of age was begun. We provide education for the mums about breast feeding, eating nutritious food and drinking plenty of water, and good hygiene practices. Sadly nutritious food is unaffordable for many. We also provide formula for those babies where breast milk is obviously not adequate nutrition.
It is a great pleasure to see these children surviving and in good health.
We have found that taking the clinic regularly to the villages has improved their over-all health. There have also been many patients who have been taken out of the village to a provincial hospital, or even to Phnom Penh for treatment, all of which would be financially impossible for them normally.
We look forward to the day when we are not needed, but meanwhile, we take great delight in impacting people’s lives for a positive change.
Isaiah 53: 4-6
4Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
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