There is no basic medical healthcare in the isolated region of the Tonle Sap in Cambodia. While diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and measles are treatable in the western world, they are the most common cause of death for little children in Cambodia.
The Lake region will be provided with health care staff and medication on waterways.The hospital ship can reach even the most isolated families. The Lake Clinic provides not only essential medical care but also public health education.
The inhabitants of the Tonle Sap Lakes region in Cambodia are an ethnically mixed group of Khmer, Cham and Vietnamese people whose lives are completely shielded from the outside world. Many of the villagers live a number of hours or even more than a day's journey away from medical care and staff and thousands of families are currently awaiting medical help. This project is just the beginning.
The Lake Clinic project has set up healthcare facilities for impoverished community members in the Tonle Sap Lake district in the Siem Reap, Battambang and Kampong Cham provinces. A small hospital boat, dubbed TLC 1, acts as a mobile doctor's unit, serving a few speedboats as well as other floating mini-clinics that the team built themselves. Via this initiative, the crew of Cambodian medical practitioners and international volunteers can reach even the most far-flung patients.
The Lake Clinic project consists of three concrete principles:
1. Basic health and dental care
The Lake Clinic focuses on providing basic medical and dental care for impoverished community members of the Tonle Sap Lake district in the Siem Reap, Battambang and Kampong Cham provinces, paying particular attention to children under 16 and women of child-bearing age.
2. Health education
Another focal point of the project is health education (primary general healthcare) which provides a key foundation towards leading a healthy life. The following themes form part of the project's health education: Nutrition, sustainable gardening and agriculture in alignment with nature, clean water household and village hygiene immunisations, pregnancy medical care, natal care, critical thinking about the economic situation of each family
3. Early diagnosis and treatment of common children's diseases
The Lake Clinic also carries out referrals relating to early diagnosis and treatment (secondary general healthcare) of common childhood diseases in a timely and tailored manner for illnesses including: cleft lip and cleft palate, club foot, nervous diseases, heart disease, amblyopia.
Within the project's framework lies the possibility for volunteer and collaborative activities with other NGOs. Throughout the project, the villagers' livelihood, the lake and the environment will remain under surveillance through testing of the water quality, water depth and sediment in the lake as well as through education and development.
The Lake Clinic (TLC) team comprises local medical care personnel, voluntary doctors from overseas as well as local boat crew.
Jon Morgan, Executive Director (January, 2007):
"In 1994 I journeyed by boat from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap for the first time. This was still during the days of Cambodia’s post-UN civil war -- when each political party had its own army; before the Khmer Rouge were fully pacified, and when both roads and waterways were being closely observed by hungry people with guns.It was then that I had my first impression of just some of the floating villages found on the Tonle Sap lake. Within the same photo frame children were defecating into the lake’s water while others swam and some washed the family dishes. Swollen bellies either from malnutrition or worms were evident everywhere. I turned towards my wife and said, 'This is a nightmare'. Thirteen years later and possessing the experience, skills and access to intellectual assistance that I then lacked, I am now in a position to return to the Tonle Sap and bring to those villages some of the health services and education that is so greatly needed."
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