Friday, July 6, 2012

Health & Safety

One of the blessings we have as an organization is the privilege to partner with so many different organizations here on the ground. One such organization is the Chab Dai Coalition that was founded by Helen Sworn about 7 years ago. For years Ratanak has funded a prevention program in some of the more vulnerable communities in Cambodia through Chab Dai,  but we are not just a ''funder'' for Chab Dai for as Ratanak has become operational on the ground in Cambodia, we are now part of the coalition that is made up of over 50 Christian organizations seeking to collaborate and work together to end trafficking in Cambodia. One of the many benefits of being part of the coalition is the opportunity to learn about different events and to participate in different trainings that Chab Dai hosts. Collaboration is the key over here but it is not always easy as everyone has their own agenda so there can be much fragmentation within the NGO community with everyone working in silos instead of working together.
Dr. Sapna Jain and her translator Michael
For us as the new kid on the block, we are always looking for opportunities to learn from our partners and   one of the benefits of being a funder of different organizations on the ground here for so many years, is the ability to leverage and network within and among our partners and learn from them without reinventing the proverbial wheel. So today as part of our ongoing staff training, Chab Dai is partnering with Dr. Sapna Jain who is teaching on different medical topics. Dr. Jain first came to Cambodia in 2006 doing a medical outreach and since then fell in love with Cambodia----this country has a way of getting under one's skin. Anyway, Dr. Jain is using her gifting to bless those in the coalition who want to train their staff on basic first aid, on issues surrounding women's health and also general medical conditions. 
Ratanak staff learning about how to stop bleeding in their hand
As we volunteered to be part of her pilot program, today was Day 1 of her training curriculum where our staff were able to learn about different issues relating to First Aid. These include fire safety, how does one deal with bleeding, how do you provide appropriate wound care and burn care and what do you do if some one is choking. It was a fun morning of interactive training as our staff willingly participated and share their views as we discussed different types of first aid treatment. One of the interesting aspects of such training is to use examples that are relevant to this environment and to also to hear their responses. 
Staff practicising cleaning a wound
Putting pressure if one is bleeding
Learning about wound care

One of the questions asked was what if one had a burn, what would you do to treat it? Some of the responses included using toothpaste, fish sauce and bananas. Of course this is not the real treatment but for us as Westerners living in country where medical care is so limited, it fascinating to learn what people in Cambodia would consider using to treat different type of ailments.
Our male staff practicing on each other
Unlike the West where we would need a medical prescription from a doctor to get antibiotics, here there is no such thing. One can simply go to a pharmacy and buy any kind of antibiotic that you need.  Of course its good to get your doctor to suggest what medication you need but we are learning that one is considered a good doctor if they recommend taking several medicines and you are considered a bad doctor if you do not prescribe any medicine. So even our staff when they are sick are hesitant to go to medical clinics as there are concerns that they will be over medicated.

In all of this basic first aid training, it is important for our staff to learn how to deal with any medical emergencies within the community home but we also hope to teach these same lessons to the young women that will be part of our home. Dr. Jain will be back again for two more sessions teaching on Women's health and discussing the female anatomy as well as STDs and personal hygiene to name a few of her topics. We are grateful for her input and her recommendations as we develop our health and safety plans within the RAP home.

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