Cambodia, Singapore partner to save lives

Training through hospital partnership equips healthcare workers with skills in trauma care


President Tony Tan Keng Yam (centre) and his wife Mary are given a
demonstration of a medical technique during a hospital visit in Phnom Penh.
At left is Singapore’s Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

The Straits Times (11 January 2017) - Cambodia’s biggest public hospital has a strong Singapore connection.

Since 2014, Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh has worked with Tan Tock Seng Hospital to train Cambodian doctors and nurses in trauma care and resuscitation.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam yesterday had a glimpse of the fruits of this partnership on the third day of his state visit to Cambodia.

He observed a handover ceremony at Calmette Hospital to commemorate the successful completion of the programme, which has equipped 216 Cambodian healthcare workers with the skills to care for severely injured patients.

A plaque was presented to the hospital and a book chronicling the ties between both hospitals was launched.

Dr Tan was also given a demonstration of some techniques learnt.

The skills and know-how Cambodian doctors and nurses have gleaned from the programme have made the difference between life and death for some patients, said Dr Chua Wei Chong, consultant trauma surgeon at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Among the game-changers was the introduction of an ultrasound technique to help detect bleeding in the abdomen.

At the start, courses were conducted by doctors from Tan Tock Seng Hospital, but over the last year, senior specialists in Calmette Hospital have started teaching alongside the Singapore faculty.

The hospital will now conduct basic and intermediate training independently.

Dr Chua said he hopes Calmette Hospital will become Cambodia’s national trauma training centre. Calmette Hospital’s director of trauma Sok Buntha said: “I strongly believe that (the) programme will have a long-term impact on trauma care in Cambodia, especially because trauma is a very common occurrence, arising from road traffic accidents, industrial accidents and other related causes.”

The programme was funded by Temasek Foundation International, with a grant of $290,630, and co-funded by Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Calmette Hospital.

On Monday, the two hospitals signed a new agreement that renews and expands their partnership to new areas of collaboration, including intensive care medicine.

After his visit to the hospital, Dr Tan headed to Siem Reap.

There, he took in the sights at Angkor Wat, a sprawling temple complex, and the Bayon temple, famous for the faces carved into its stone towers.

He was also hosted to dinner by the governor of Siem Reap province, Mr Khim Bun Song.

Today, he sets off for Vientiane, starting his state visit to neighbouring Laos.

He will be there until Jan 14.

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Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.