Cambodia: SMART: Sustainable Medical Arts, Research, & Technology
Proof of concept. We are developing a project that will bring training and potentially telehealth services to rural areas that is delivered by indigenous village women. Public heath, primary care, first aid, and emergency services are all but absent in rural areas of Cambodia. "Itinerant" medical ex-pats may be the currently best available healthcare resource in such areas. This project seeks to empower indigenous women by providing training in basic public health practices and emergency medical care/first aid so they may be of aid to those in their for their villages. They would be supported by a training program that will enable them to be able to provide sufficient help until the patient can be taken to the nearest medical facility or a traveling physician can come to the village. It will be unique as it will not require literacy to operate.
Vast patient populations in the less developed nations of the world are underserved and their treatments mismanaged, which often results in physical impairments, lifelong disabilities and social and economic hardship. Due in part to a lack of trained healthcare providers to serve these populations, inappropriate care prevents people from productively contributing to the economy and society. These disparities are particularly pronounced in emerging-economy nations.
CGI is committed to improving global health and is committed to help make this happen in Cambodia, but only with the assistance and partnership of local governments, industry and the medical community. Early and appropriate care and intervention for diseased children and injured workers has an immediate and long-lasting positive impact on society, the economy and the country.
The Sustainable Medical Arts Research & Technology Project (or SMART) is an ongoing series of phased education programs that will start in Cambodia in 2008 and ultimately be adapted to other countries. Working with CGI emergency, behavioral, and public health volunteers and partner universities and organizations: College of Medicine, University of Illinois; Flying Doctors of America; University of Colorado Health Sciences; and others, CGI will conduct basic public health and emergency first aid education programs on an annual basis. The project includes onsite instruction (didactic and skills labs), regional district-level education outreach programs, ongoing research and outcomes data assessment, and a "train the trainers" approach to public health and emergency first aid education. In early years, the program is US-faculty heavy, but over time the program will be managed almost entirely by local regional physicians and related health care providers.
The overall objective of SMART is to strengthen capacities in emergency medical and essential public healthcare in Cambodia, with particular emphasis on:
- Improving child health through better treatment for pediatric trauma and prevention and treatment of infections and illness
- Better trauma treatment for adults and successful outcomes for injured so they may return to gainful employment
Program objectives are as follows:
- Teach best practices at appropriate skill levels to healthcare givers
- Establish a core curriculum developed by both US and Cambodian Teams that can be adapted nationally and taught locally over time
- Identify future leaders and educators from among the course participants and provide resources for cascade training and transfer technologies to reach primary regional district healthcare facilities
- Expand total number of trained individuals available to provide quality care and prevention services
- Upgrade the knowledge and skills of allied health personnel
- Expand exponentially the number of patients who receive appropriate and timely care and disease intervention/prevention
- Decrease the number and extent of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) resulting from poor, negligent, or absent healthcare and public health interventions
Current Support Requirements
CGI and its partner institutions and volunteers are working together throughout the program development and implementation process. In order to ensure a profound success, however, CGI requires the interest, endorsement and support of the Cambodian healthcare and medical communities and leaders, the Ministries of Health, Finance, and Public Information. Finally, CGI is seeking financial support from foundations and private industry.