Go on, Share the Health…

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A child receives free treatment for Hepatitis at Share The Health, The Chong Doung Clinic, Baray Village, Kampong Thom, Cambodia. The IV needles they used for this were amongst the last they had in stock.

Share The Health Cambodia is a charity that was started in April 2009 by James and Cara Garcia, after witnessing the extreme poverty and need for medical care in the rural provinces of Cambodia. They run The Chong Doung clinic alongside 10 Cambodian doctors and carers.

Being the only functioning medical centre in the area, queues of people form outside every morning, each person hoping to receive treatment after several hours of travel. Lack of funds and government support have meant that the clinic has practically run dry of the medicines and needles required to treat their patients, so many are now having to be turned away.

The doctors described the hurdles involved in obtaining supplies, when trying to run a corrupt free service. These include under the table payments and good will donations of new facillites, such as printers or computers for officials to print out the paperwork required to run medical services.

The clinic was shut down, minutes after this shot was taken, because the ministry of health is now preventing it from operating, by refusing to process their paperwork and not supplying them with medicine.

Both James and Cara Garcia have been buying medical supplies with their own money, for the 1700 or so patients they treat each month. They no longer have the financial means to do so though and have often had to go without meals in order to keep things running at the clinic. Fifty or so patients, some with life threatening conditions, had to be turned away the morning I was there.

This means that people will have to go down the road, to a nearby government hospital. However, their supplies are kept under lock and key in a warehouse, from where they get sold on to pharamacies and individuals who can afford to pay for them.

This child is being cared for by his mother in one of the hospital wards, which has no electricity or running water. There were no doctors to be seen, as they were all “still on holiday”.

To learn more, or donate to Share The Health Cambodia, please check http://www.sharethehealthcambodia.org

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