Sue Smith OBE “Killing Fields to Recovery”

At our club Zoom meeting on Thursday 25th November Sue Smith, OBE, gave her talk “Killing Fields to Recovery”. Sue worked in the NHS and retired recently as Executive Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive of Morecambe Bay Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Sue is a Trustee and Chairman of Transform for Healthcare in Cambodia, a registered charity in the UK. Cambodia has a population of 15 million. Many people were killed by the Khmer Rouge in a civil war targeting professional people including doctors and teachers. Key parts of the infrastructure were destroyed. Many people live in dwellings built on lake shores. Their environment leads to unhealthy living conditions. Public health is a great concern when people drink untreated water from the lake. In the rainy season epidemics of disease occur including Dengue Fever and Malaria. There is no National Health Service and treatment at government centres requires payment. There is a high birthrate but significant infant deaths occur.
Following Khmer Rouge actions against teachers there is a high illiteracy rate. Buddhism is the National religion and one effect is that people feel a health problem is not due to a natural cause. There is only one government hospital which is in Phnom Pen where surgery is carried out. Blood tests can be sent to this hospital. Social care is being developed by Non Government Organisations.
In 2011 helped by a UK grant a group went from the North Tees Hospital Trust to Cambodia to help set up a link with medical staff. Out of this visit the charity was formed to provide staff training in the Cambodian hospital. The first team went in 2014 For the past 9 years Medical staff from UK visit to train Cambodian health care staff. The charity also brings medical staff to the UK for further training.