Every child gets sick sometimes and in Cambodia infant mortality is sadly 25 per 1,000 live births with 29 children out of 1,000 not reaching their fifth birthday. However, Sovann Komar is very fortunate to have full time physician working and living in our village. Doctor Ou Chhaya and his wife Theary are one of our foster couples and together look after six of Sovann Komar’s children. Doctor Chhaya studied medicine in Phnom Penh with French lecturers and completed his training in a local hospital where he became disillusioned with the way the health system in Cambodia worked. So when the opportunity to become a doctor for Sovann Komar came up, Doctor Chhaya was keen to take on this honest, ethical and productive work.
The clinic is open every day and because Doctor Chhaya lives onsite, all of our parents, staff and children can receive medical assistance whenever necessary. During the week, students from the school attend if they get hurt too. One of our administrators, So Kunthea, is also a trained nurse and she assists Doctor Chhaya at times.
Our children receive the flu vaccine annually and go for medical check-ups every six months. Their height and weight is also monitored to help identify any developmental problems. Several of our students need to wear glasses and they are taken for regular eye examinations to ensure their prescriptions are correct.
As a result of their difficult early years and months, some of our children suffer from minor health complaints and two have severe problems. One has been diagnosed with foetal alcohol poisoning and the other has a joint disability. We are working closely with doctors and the children’s families to do our best for these children.
Most of the time our children are healthy, happy and enjoying their lives. It is a comfort to our supporters and the parents that medical assistance is so close at hand. When the problem is too great for our team within Sovann Komar to deal with, we take the children to an international hospital in the city. Luckily, this is a rare occurrence.