Mobile Medical

Mobile Medical Expansion

At Flame, it's not just what we do,    but who does it

Let me introduce you to Sothy... (Soh-tee) the current leader at our guy's leadership academy.   He is dreaming of running a second mobile medical Tuktuk, bringing free medical care into the slums of Phnom Penh.  

        Would you consider helping him?

Sothy's Story

When I was a child, my dad suffered from mental illness, he wanted to kill us kids. He took his own life when I was a just little guy and I was the one who found him hanging. My siblings left school to help support the family after he died, climbing palm trees to get the fruit used for juice, but then it was decided that I should go to school.  So, at 6 yrs old I was left alone in our family home, while everyone else went to Phnom Penh to find work. I couldn't cook or look after myself but I took care of the neighbour's animals, and in return they helped me. I was really scared of ghosts, I would hide under the covers at night. I was so alone.

My mum got sick and life took another turn. I remember looking at her sad face and feeling sad too, knowing I couldn't help her. I remember thinking to myself that if I knew about medicine, I could help her and could help other poor people too.

We had to sell our family home to pay for my mother's medicines. The money only lasted 3 weeks and 2 months after it ran out, my mother died. I was 7, and my little brothers were 2 and 3 years old.

I went back to living alone, and still had no idea how to cook for myself. I begged the neighbours "I will do anything for you, if you just give me something to eat!!" I stayed with them for one year until at 8, I was taken away with someone to live with a family. I remember staring out the window of the car as we drove away, trying to memorise the road because I was sure that I was being sold and would need to know how to get home again. 

It turned out to be a foster home situation and my sister and brothers joined me there and lived with the family for 7 years. We knew that we weren't really their kids, they loved their own children more than us. 

Now I am living at the Flame Leadership Academy and have just finished my 6th year of medical school. I have 2 more years of interning at local hospitals here in Phnom Penh before I can continue with my 4 year specialisation in paediatrics, which is my dream. I want to provide free medical care in rural Cambodia to children so that kids like I was are able to get medicines and the care they need. 

A second Tuktuk and motorbike have already been donated,  but Flame still needs ongoing costs of US$100 per week before we set this expansion in motion.  Would you be able to help us? 

Sothy has been working alongside Rithy for a year now, and will have our volunteer ER Nurse Alister accompanying him to the slums. We can't do this without your help. 

Sothy has been working alongside Rithy for a year now, and will have our volunteer ER Nurse Alister accompanying him to the slums. We can't do this without your help. 

Breast is Best

Newborn babies and mother's milk, a beautifully designed combination, right?

This mum would be able to feed her baby, but her wee girl is the 6th child in the family and dad's in jail. Mum is alone, so although she has plenty of milk, she will go to work and leave bubs to one of the siblings to mind. This is a choice she will make to feed the family. She has asked if we could help by providing baby formula. Babies born into struggling families cannot get the "Best", but with some help, they can survive.

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Huge thanks to our kind donors who make the work we do in the slums possible. We can't do this without you! If you'd like to help, please donate on the Flame website

Journey Begins

Do you remember the family who lost their mum? Check out the latest!! 

These kids are going to school!!

Laughing their heads off!! 

Laughing their heads off!! 

The family returned to Phnom Penh and Flame staff signed them up today. We will bring them rice, are looking at getting them into better accommodation and are moving forward on getting the kids into our Flame catch up class.

The joy on this wee face! 

The joy on this wee face! 

None of the kids have birth certificates, so we are planning another trip (4 hour each way!) to the countryside to talk with the village chief and see if we can get them organized. This is a pain, but not an impossible task.  This is what we do!

Thank you to the kind donors who have helped make this possible.  

Our caseworker Poeurn filling in forms :) 

Our caseworker Poeurn filling in forms :) 

Mobile Medical on Steroids!

8 nursing students from Edith Cowan University in Perth come to help Flame

The students and Flame volunteers did medical checks, ear and eye checks, lice treatments, fingernail clipping and tutorials on brushing teeth with 450 slum dwelling children.

Hundreds of kids in the Cemetery  

Hundreds of kids in the Cemetery  

The nurses also conducted first aid training for the Flame Young Adults. It was such a full weekend! 

The students were able to see the entire Full Circle: the slum living kids, the kids in our programs, and the young adults who volunteer now as leaders. The nursing students were stunned and teary eyed at the impact of the Flame leaders who knew poverty and are now university students and graduates who work among the poor.

 "this has renewed my faith in humanity"  

Hounthy doing eye checks

Hounthy doing eye checks

Now What?

Rithy and I visited the family who lost their wife and mum yesterday, in their homeland, bordering Vietnam! The 8 hour motorbike ride was a real marathon.

They are doing ok, sad and shocked but starting to think about what is next. There are three of the 5 kids who we will try to get into the local primary through the Flame School Project, where they will be supported through school and have a case worker assigned to keep tabs on them. We would love to help the dad into some sort of business where he would be able to support his family. He currently sells snails on a rented cart and can't quite get by. 

@Samkemp

@Samkemp

Some generous donations have come in this week. Thanks so much to all the people who have given so that Flame can help this family. 

Death in the Slums

This is hard to write. On Tuesday night when Rithy got to the slums he was met with tragedy. One of the women we have been treating died over the Pchum Ben holiday. Most people go back to their homelands to see family and venerate ancestors, but this one woman didn't go home. She knew how ill she was and was waiting to us to come and see her. She died before she could say goodbye to her family for the last time. She left five children, including a small baby. 

This wee guy lost his mum.  

This wee guy lost his mum.  

Mobile Medical have decided to cover the milk powder for him until he's old enough to eat.  

If anyone would be able to help cover the cost we would appreciate it. Mobile Medical is still looking for funding, we are a new initiative, and currently with no regular funding partner. Please email us on info@flamecambodia.org or give directly on our website, tagging the donation with Mobile Medical. Thank you.

HIV Positive

Last night we visited the slums and gave out loads of soy milk to the young kids, and then the rain hit!

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We then went to the Khmer Russian Hospital,  to visit an HIV positive patient from one of the slums where we work. Rithy had been advocating for the couple, making sure they get the help they need.  On admission the patient was unable to stand, but now the infections in his mouth are fully clear, his other symptoms are decreasing and he has energy again. His wife has tested HIV negative! 

Infectious diseases ward

Infectious diseases ward

Kids in the slums

I just met a little boy with a gas burn on his leg. We are organising some medical help for him. He is too scared to go to hospital, in fact he doesn't want to go anywhere. His parents have left him in the care of his 7 year old sister. The kids live with the various neighbours in the alley.

Poor little kid is scared stiff

Poor little kid is scared stiff

 

I was thinking of posting a picture of Bauk's leg, but it's too horrid, so I edited off the injury and we have one 5 year old foot in the picture insead. Rithy is on his way now.

 

the HOPE factor

Last night the Flame Mobile Medical brought kids clothes and toys to two of the slum communities where we have been doing ongoing medical care. A big shoutout to the kind people of Te Awamutu, and @Pumpkin Patch Te Rapa, and of course Rebecca Stocker, our NZ rep who lugged them all the way here! Clothes are cheap here but there is no way the families we are working with can afford them for their children, there's a reason for the word ragamuffin! 

Photo quality is sketchy because it was getting dark

Photo quality is sketchy because it was getting dark

I found it tough last night. I see the complexity of the issues: poverty, corruption, substance abuse and family breakdowns, but with no easy answers in sight - we can't barge in and fix anyone, BUT what we CAN do it get the kids who are keen learners into school. We have to hold onto the HOPE factor. It takes more energy some days than others.

Posture of Learning

Tonight the mobile medical team had a study session, covering the new government regulations for medical personel in Cambodia.

It was a fun night and we covered a multitude of interesting scenarios. What became obvious was the need for us to keep our records digitally. We have increased numbers of patients we need to track their history, exactly what illnesses are presenting, our diagnosis and treatment plan. We are looking for donations to cover a laptop and an iPad. Anyone keen to chip in? Donations towards the Mobile Medical can be made through our website flamecambodia.org 

Just get them into school

The other week I was out again with the Mobile Medical Tuktuk, doing the usual medical run into the slums, and I met a little girl. She was bright and chatty, and for about 2 hours, she and a crowd of kids played a flurry of hand clapping games. She was the one who knew all the words and laughed and clapped her way through the evening. I asked her if she was in school and she looked briefly away, and said no. I asked her how old she was, she said 11, she has 4 siblings and she cleans the shack, and takes care of her younger siblings and works on something else, which I couldn't understand... I faked a smile and we continued with the singing and clapping games, but inside I was really hurting. This kid needs a better chance. They all do. 

 

Kids at Sen Sok today, playing games and learning  

Kids at Sen Sok today, playing games and learning