Janne's August 2020 Newsletter

August 2020

Dear friends and partners, 

It's been a while since I have written. The Covid 19 virus has changed so much of my life and life at Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital. In late March I returned to Canada amid fears that I would contract the virus while in Cambodia 

with no secure medical care for the virus – a factor that my co-founders Phavi and Sieng found hard to live with. 

Since then much has happened in Cambodia and in the hospital.

The virus has resulted in Cambodia closing its borders to all people for a number of months which has resulted in a low incidence of the virus in the country.  Instead the virus has resulted in a huge economic impact of the people – tourism and garment industries are deeply affected leaving an unemployment crisis as low as 60% in some areas to as high as 85% in other areas. The spendable income of people has dropped dramatically.

The impact on the Nokor Tep Hospital is enormous. Our plans to open up our maternity and surgical units has been put on hold. We needed to close the laboratory temporarily as the cost of the reagents and staff far outstripped our payments for the services. We are currently using another lab until things return to normal. All of the staff are working on half pay as the ability for patients to pay has dropped drastically.

Yet despite the doom and gloom – the hospital continues to serve those in need. 

Let me share two stories  

(1) Ong Dany:

Ong Dany sits down next to us and starts her story: “Since I’ve grown old, my health has been getting weaker by the day, and I sometimes have no energy to even walk. I have been chronically ill for 3 to 4 years now, in and out of the hospitals, but with no improvements.” This unexplained, growing ‘physical weakness’ became so prominent in 2019 that she fainted, and due to her brittle bones, she broke the bones in one of her legs with the fall, thereby needing an urgent operation at a well-knownhospital in Phnom Penh City. 

August 001

I continued to try to find a cure to my ‘physical weakness’ at that particular hospital, but despite my leg getting better, I was still increasingly physically fatigued. Seeing my deteriorating physical condition, my neighbor introduced me to a new hospital called Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital stating that maybe this hospital will be able to help me”. 

On February 8, 2020 Ong Dany took her chance and came to Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital for the first time for a health check-up of her unexplained ‘physical weakness’. Our doctors listened to her complaints, did laboratory tests, gave her medicine to try for 3 days and requested her to return to see if the medicine was effective. Three days later, she “actually had returned better and more energetic” so she was given an extended treatment for a month, and a follow-up consultation in six months if all was well. Today, July 29, 2020 was her six-months follow up and she can finally say that she “feels much better – no more chronic pain, no more dizziness, and no more weakness” and is profoundly thankful to Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital for taking care of her and solving t

this mysterious physical problem that she carried with her throughout the last few years.

With the Coronavirus taking its toll on the Cambodian people financially – we have opened our doors to all who need us. 

(2) Chamreuon Meng:

A couple months ago, we had the visit of Mr. Chamroeun Meng*, limping and bleeding from one of his legs, hand in hand with his wife desperate for help. Chamroeun, aged 41 years old, lives very close to Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital and works at a nearby construction site. He had accidentally sawed his leg while cutting wood and had sought treatment from nearby clinics but was refused treatment multiple times due to the severity of the cut and his “perceived inability to pay” he said. By the time he reached us, his wound was deeply infected, filled with shards of wood and his skin was starting to rot with a strong smell. Our team quickly moved him to the Emergency Room and started to work on his wound cleaning and treatment. The wound was so deep and severe that the doctors required Chamroeun to return to the hospital every two days for a wound cleaning and to check the status of the wound. However, two days later, Chamroeun never came back, and on the third day we decided to call him to ask him why he didn’t return, to which he replied “I’m sorry, I am thankful to the doctors for their attention but I have no money to return to the hospital”. 

August 002

Due to Chamroeun’s lack of financial means and the urgency to keep his wound clean and to avoid a bigger infection which could lead to amputation, Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital used the Solidarity Funds ( a specific fund set up to help those in need) to sponsor Chamroeun’s medical treatment.

Thanks to the Solidarity Fund, Chamroeun came very diligently every two days for his treatment. Sometimes he slowly limped for 20-30minutes to reach the hospital, and sometimes he managed to get a free motorbike ride from our team members…he truly was lacking financial means.

June 6th 2020, a month or so later, was his last appointment with our doctors, and we were very happy to see that his wound had completely healed. Chamroeun is very grateful to our hospital for not rejecting him, for caring for him and for providing him free medical care when he needed it but couldn’t afford it – he stated that he “is profoundly thankful to the doctors for their care and to the donors of the Solidarity Fund” for allowing him to treat and keep his leg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

I and my co-founders are so thankful to our God for being allowed the privilege of serving all who are in need of medical care. I am thankful to each of you, our supporters for your faithfulness to the Cambodia people who are hurting so much. In this difficult time I pray that each of you may find it in your heart to support us yet again. As my staff say – stay well – stay safe. Thank you for being a part of Ong Dany and Chamreouns lives.

Janne Ritskes

Co-Founder

Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital 

 

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