Singapore, Cambodia hospitals expand training programme

President Tony Tan Keng Yam watches a medical demonstration during a visit to a hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Jan 10, 2017.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam watches a medical demonstration during a visit to a hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Jan 10, 2017.PHOTO: EPA

SIEM REAP - Cambodia's biggest public hospital has a strong Singapore connection.

For three years, Tan Tock Seng Hospital has worked with Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh to train Cambodian doctors and nurses on trauma care and resuscitation.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam on Tuesday (Jan 10) had a glimpse of the fruits of this partnership when he paid a visit to Calmette Hospital.

Under an agreement inked in 2014, the two hospitals co-developed a programme to train Cambodian healthcare workers with the skills to care for severely-injured patients.

Dr Tan, who is on the third day of his state visit to Cambodia, observed a handover ceremony to mark the successful completion of the programme.

A commemorative plaque was presented to Calmette Hospital, and a book chronicling the journey and ties between both hospitals was launched.

The skills and know-how Cambodian doctors and nurses have gleaned from the programme has made the difference between life and death for some trauma patients, said Dr Chua Wei Chong, consultant trauma surgeon at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Among the game-changers was the introduction of an ultrasound technique to help detect bleeding in the abdomen.

The programme has benefited 216 Cambodian doctors and nurses in total.

At the start courses were conducted by doctors from Tan Tock Seng Hospital, but over the past year, senior specialists in Calmette Hospital have started teaching alongside the Singapore faculty.

The hospital will now conduct basic and intermediate training independently for their Cambodian colleagues.

Calmette Hospital's director of trauma Sok Buntha said: "I strongly believe that (the) programme will have a long-term impact on trauma care in Cambodia, especially because trauma is a very common occurrence, arising from road traffic accidents, industrial accidents and other related causes."

The programme was funded by Temasek Foundation International, with a grant of $290,630, and co-funded by Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Calmette Hospital.

On Monday, the the hospitals signed a new agreement that renews and expands their partnership. The new areas of collaboration include intensive care medicine, and healthcare leadership and development.

After his tour of the hospital, Dr Tan headed to Siem Reap. There, he took in the sights at Angkor Wat and the Bayon Temple.

He will be hosted to dinner by the governor of Siem Reap Province, Mr Khim Bun Song.

On Wednesday, he sets off for Vientiane, starting his state visit to neighbouring Laos. He will be there untill Jan 14.