Many hospitals are understaffed and require assistance with basic treatments and more complex procedures if you have the credentials necessary. You have the opportunity to help save lives in Cambodia.
Early 2008 in Cambodia proved to be an excellent time of year. Several international non-governmental organizations and the provincial government organized and collaborated on a large number of volunteering projects in the countryside of Oddar Meanchey that would allow local doctors and medical staff to receive assistance from licensed professionals and med students from overseas.
In cooperation with the provincial public health department, our partners and volunteers have worked in some of the most remote areas of the country to assist medical outposts and health centers. Patient assistance is not all that can be done, as there are follow-up projects which volunteers can participate in that allow them to travel to dozens of villages and communities in order to replenish medical aid kits.
This program is perfect for highly motivated and educated individuals with a strong medical background. Qualified nurses, doctors, and medical students are all welcome to apply for this posting. Your allocated role will depend on your level of experience and the professional judgement of local doctors and the program directors.
These medical centers are found in rural communities and you will be dealing with some of the poorest people that can be found in Cambodia. Malaria is a serious concern in these regions and personal vaccination is a must. The programme runs between Monday and Friday, and you receive weekends off.
Week 1 Introduction week
This action-packed week will get you sightseeing, learning about local Buddhism, interacting with the people and culture of Cambodia and more!
Explore the lively Siem Reap, a backpacker’s hotspot in the North of Cambodia with lots to do, a world famous temple close by and a vibrant night life. Then, dive into the untouched Samraong in the quaint Cambodian countryside. This is your chance to experience Cambodia from a local perspective while you see and feel how most of the population live.
Week 2 – Onwards
You will be working with local doctors to ensure quality patient care within the hospital. Each morning, you will be meeting with the doctor on his rounds and then be delegated to different tasks around the ward if you are not assigned to a local health centre or outpost. You will be helping nurses, doctors, surgeons, and cleaning staff depending on your individual skill set and the local situation.
You may be assigned to a different location where the needs of the patients or staff present will be drastically different than the main hospital. Your project coordinator will always make it clear what your objectives and responsibilities are, and your fellow volunteers will always be available to help you.
As a result of how flexible the programme is based on local needs and the skills of the volunteers, the best schedule you can rely upon is that you will be working Monday to Friday and get the weekend off. Where you will be working is unknown until it is decided on-site!
The programme’s typical week is built off of basic routine. You will be reporting to the doctor at Samraong Hospital at 7:30 AM each day to assist with morning rounds. This usually lasts until about 10:00 AM but this can change based on the patients there and the doctor’s schedule.
You will be helping the doctors with treating patients, cleaning the hospital, and helping some of the more inexperienced staff with new tasks and skills. The knowledge you bring can usually be adapted to use in Cambodia and other similar poverty-stricken regions of the world and it is best if you are previously acquainted with procedures that require very little resources. You will come to understand common ailments for the local people and learn new ways to heal on top of what you bring to the table.
Depending on the situation, there may be opportunities available for work in a more nursing focused capacity. Volunteers can expect to spend two or three days a week working at local health outposts depending on what programmes are being run by the Provincial Health Department. Medical practitioners with a large amount of experience will be posted at health centres on a more regular basis as their skills can be utilized more effectively here.
Your placement and opportunities to participate will depend on the rapport and trust you build with the local doctors and the director of Samraong Hospital. Always enunciate your explanations and be very clear about your expertise and dedication to ensure that you make a good impression. The better your rapport, the more fulfilling experience you will obtain while volunteering here in Cambodia.