អរុណសួស្ដី Miss Asuncion!

Those were my very first worst in Khmer, the language spoken in Cambodia, from the taxi driver that came to pick me up at the airport. They meant “Good Morning”, but in Khmer is pronounced similar to “suicide” and THAT is what I understood after 15h travelling! Of course I started laughing and told him that “Suicide Miss Asuncion” was the best welcome I have ever had…

Finally here I am folks! It is the first time that I write a blog, soooo….”Please Mind the Blog” – I will do my best to make good use of your time reading it.

My NGO provided me an amazing support before coming here arranging paperwork and all logistics needed so my landing was quite smooth. Besides, my boss came to pick me up and have breakfast at my hotel the next day which I appreciated since my brain could only focus on the noise and the chaotic traffic around me and the chances of me reaching the office on time would have between 0%-1%…

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In order to give you a little bit of background, I am working with Clinton Health Access Initiative in Phnom Penh, and their work here is focused in two programs: HIV and Malaria elimination. I am part of the HIV program and I will be helping identifying gaps and improving how ARVs (antiretrovirals) and laboratory commodities are supplied across the country working closely with the Government. The way CHAI operates here is quite interesting as they work as an extension of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STD even physically as they have a small office in their building from where we work at least half day every day. We are four people in my team: our manager who is American and two locals – I am amazed by their knowledge, open mind and endless willing to help, plus… we laugh a LOT. BINGO!

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I would like to dig more in the program goals and share with you the first health centre’s visits we did last week plus more stuff but it is almost midnight so I think I will keep the suspense until next post next week and explain in detail.

In the meantime, I would like to raise a question that I am curious about:

We have a big challenge here concerning TAT (Turn Around Time) concerning the results of tests done in the capital that have to be sent back to patients in far rural areas. Currently, the laboratory is typing a letter and posting it which takes ages and we are looking for other sustainable alternatives.. what other ways are your NGOs using that are working well?

Said that, talk to you soon!

 

4 comments

  1. Happy to hear that everything is fine with you there! I have read your question, and I have just realised how important is to have access to internet nowadays. I think most of us take this as granted in Europe. Unfortunately, I do not see many options. I’m just thinking to contract a courier that can assure a faster delivery for an additional cost. Not sure if this is feasible there. Hope that you can find a solution asap. Please keep your London friends updated. 🙂 ps: we are waiting also a selfie from Cambodia!

    1. Super Radu! Thanks a lot for thinking about options, it is rather complicated.. courier for more than 1000 tests done at different time will be very expensive but it was one of the options on the table for critical cases. I will keep you posted, and if you are unlucky you might see a selfie soon… 🙂 Enjoy that lovely British summer you have over there and regards for the HUB family!

  2. Asun!! Great to hear you are settled, we want to see photos of you at work, in your favourite bar at the weekend…. Have you made Spanish tortillas to share with your new colleagues already?

    We have some counterfeit technology that you could benefit from… Put a label on the product showing a unique code (or batch code) and a free text number. Rural areas will not have internet but are likely to have mobiles…. A patient or a pharmacy texts the code and they get an automatic text back telling them if the test has been passed or not (once the lab has finished testing they just need to update the database). We use something similar in rural areas in Africa, let me know if you want to hear more about it

    Te echamos de menos mucho Asun!!

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