For this trip abroad to Cambodia, after a nearly five-hour ride to our base village from Phnom Penh, our team efficiently set up clinic in a local school and were quickly ready to see patients.
And the patients flooded in. After signing in, their first stop was the education station, where we talked to them about ways they can improve their health and that of their families. They learned about hand washing, oral health, hydration, and more. IMR has a strong advocacy for education, and we believe in the efforts of our volunteers to share their medical knowledge to the communities they serve.
At triage, our team took vital signs, then asked the patients why they were there. We directed them to a specific health provider depending on whether they were sick or feeling mostly well and just wanted to see a doctor. After they saw the doctor, they could pick up any medication they were prescribed from our pharmacy. We were also fortunate to have a local dental team working with us that saw patients who were having problems with their teeth.
Local doctors assisted the medical providers on our team, and that allowed us to see lots of patients. We saw a number of patients with gastrointestinal diseases, such as GERD and acute gastroenteritis. Our providers took the time to talk to each patient about hygiene, the importance of clean drinking water, and ways to prevent acid reflux to help them stay healthier.
We also traveled across the beautiful Cambodian countryside to visit remote villages. Here, many of our patients were farmers complaining of back and muscular pains from working hard in their fields. Because these areas rarely have access to clean water, our team saw quite a few cases of diarrhea and skin diseases related to dirty water. We gave them instructions on how to sterilize their water to help improve their health.
One highlight of our trip took place just after we had packed up clinic for the day. Several children in the village started playing a game similar to Duck Duck Goose. A few of our team members joined in, then more children, and more staff – before long, we ended up with a huge game with everyone laughing and playing together without even needing to speak the same language.
“What a great journey and an even greater group of people working together for a terrific cause. We have made lifelong friends with this wonderful collaboration. Together we served over 400 people in the community that would otherwise have no access to medical care.” – Kat, Team Cambodia volunteer
On our last clinic day, we held a seminar for community leaders in the area. Sixty participants learned about a variety of topics including hygiene, diarrhea and its prevention, basic first aid, dengue fever and malaria, and respiratory tract infections. Our goal was to give these leaders lifesaving knowledge to take back and share in their villages to improve health in their communities and even save lives.
We served 1,584 patients in Cambodia that week. Some days were long, but they were all worth it. We were blessed to have an opportunity to serve in this country and we left knowing we made a positive impact in the lives of its people. We hope to be back soon!