Volunteer doctors from the United States will provide free medical treatment to Cambodians in Kampong Thom province starting next week.
The humanitarian mission, organized by Cambodian Health Professionals of America (CHPAA), will be held in Kampong Thom Hospital and two clinics in Baray district from February 11 to 19.
“Our service includes surgery, gynecological conditions, internal problems for both children and adults,” CHPAA President Dr. Song Tan told VOA Khmer. “We have enough medicine for up to 8,000 patients. We also provide dental service, rheumatism treatment, and give away reading-glasses and prosthetic hands.”
More than 100 medical practitioners will take part in the mission, which is the ninth annual mission carried out by CHPAA.
“Our team is increasing and this is because of our reputation,” said Tan. “We are there to provide good treatment to the villagers and organize the trip well. Therefore, all volunteers are inspired to join us. Most of them go there almost every year.”
Dr. Seang Seng, one of the doctors taking part, authored “Starving Season,” an autobiographical account of his risky attempts to save a Khmer Rouge cadre at a time when many people hid their real identity and profession to save their lives.
“I used to live in the Pol Pot regime and have gone through suffering, poverty, lack of medicine, and lack of medical practitioner,” he said. “Therefore, even though I don’t go through this suffering anymore, I never forget the past. I always have compassion and sympathy for our countrymen. Every time I go to Cambodia, I always find a way to help them.”
Many rural Cambodians lack access to quality health care, according to Seng.
“Every time we go, they come to hug us and beg us to return,” he added. “I am always happy to see them.”
Gracie Ann Dinkins is also on her third mission to Cambodia.
“I, myself, am totally impressed with the graciousness, the gentleness, the patience and the dignity of the people and I’m honored to serve,” she said.