Friends of Taste the World and the CW Asia Fund were on hand to celebrate the grand opening of the Lao Friends Hospital for Children on February 11th. Following the event, we received a special message from Kenro Izu, founder, Friends without a Border/Angkor Hospital for Children.
Thank you Canadian friends for joining the grand opening of Lao Friends Hospital for Children on February 11th! It meant a lot to me to see you there. It’s heartwarming to know that you and many other supporters are so dedicated, and rejoice in taking part of this significant milestone for Friends.
On February 12th, LFHC saw 47 patients and have continued to treat more than 50 patients each day. With the new pace in the outpatient department and daily education classes, the staff are making adjustments to strive for the best possible care.
Completing the construction just in 14 months is supposed to be a miracle in Laos, as I was told. YOU made this possible and I can’t thank you enough! My sincere appreciation for your continued support.
How I got involved with the Angkor Hospital for Children
……I helped out with a fundraiser for the Angkor Hospital for Children in January – “Taste The World” in Vancouver which is held every year at the Four Seasons Hotel Ballroom to raise money for the Angkor Hospital for Children and Medical Action Myanmar. My sister Lindsay Peretz volunteered at the hospital last summer.
At Taste the World evening, during my volunteering, I had had the opportunity to meet Helen Catton, Director of Angkor Satellite Clinic. We chatted a bit about what I was doing and the healthcare situation in Cambodia if I were to come. My goal was to expand my volunteering from a local level to an international setting. We discussed possibilities of what I may be able to do out there. (and on another evening, while Helen was still here, we had a brainstorming session with some other Vancouver kids as to how to raise money for the Angkor Hospital for Children) After discussing what specific skills I might be able to bring to the hospital, it was decided to expand on my work experience from the summer before.
Last summer I worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Alberta conducting a Hand Hygiene Audit over three months. I learned hand hygiene policy and protocol, how to conduct the audit, and then finally compiled the data and a final report. Helen stressed the need for help in this area at the Angkor Hospital for Children! After going back and forth we finalized the date, made preparations to implement my experience and was on my way to Siem Reap!
I decided quite last minute to have a quick fundraiser before I left – and I was able to raise $1750 US
Once at Angkor Hospital for Children I worked closely with the Khmer staff, specifically the Infection Control nurses at both the AHC and Satellite Clinic. We discussed our different ways of conducting the audits, and how improvements could be made to the system. We then observed staff together for 2 weeks and conducted an audit, and observed for issues and recommendations we had.
Finally, we put together a powerpoint and gave lunch talks at both the Angkor Hospital for Children and the Angkor Satellite Clinic. It was so rewarding for me to know that I had actually been able to contribute some of my knowledge to the AHC and was really able to teach them something. I hope to be back soon!
Volunteer Tara Peretz, Summer 2014
Cassils focus on fledgling, grassroots charitable organizations
Friday, August 14, 2009
Published in the Vancouver Courier
John Cassils had just pulled out his video camera in a village in northern Laos in 1999 when he was invited into a hut to see a shaman dancing.
John, his wife Nina and four friends had been enjoying a 10 day trip by riverboat and four wheeled drive in the mountainous area near the Chinese border. They’d asked their driver to drop them off outside the village and walked in separately with no translator, although one friend who was in the Vietnam War spoke Lao.
A couple of heaps under a blanket in the corner of the hut soon drew John’s attention. They were the still figures of two young boys. John, a former family doctor, examined the three and four year old boys and found they were nearly dead from malnutrition. One child had lost 70 per cent of his vision and the other couldn’t stand because he had lost muscle strength.
In June 2009, Town & Country Magazine profiled Kenro Izu, Friends Without a Border, and the Angkor Hospital for Children.
Listen to a June 2008 Radio interview of John Cassils on CFUN Radio on the Shannon Nelson morning buzz program.
We helped to facilitate visits to projects in Myanmar by Prospero, a non-profit company that advises investors and donors where to put their donation dollars. Anna Louisa visited the Muslim Free Hospital, Medical Action Myanmar, and the Metta Development Foundation. She wrote about her visit to the Hospital on Prospero’s blog:
The Muslim Free Hospital, Yangon. October 2012
Yangon General Hospital
With this fieldtrip focusing on health provision in Myanmar, we’ve already heard how the General Hospital in Yangon, which provides statutory health care, is famed for charging its patients for all equipment used. Street vendors outside the hospital prepare “operation packs” where would-be patients go to buy the equipment needed to cut them up and put them back together again. Heart bypass pack? No worries. It’s there. Orthopedic surgery? No fear, there is a suitable pack waiting beyond the General Hospital’s walls. For a price. And, at up to 3,000,000 Kyat ( £2,250), that price is more than most can afford. In a lifetime…
No matter what his or her condition was, every person at the hospital was smiling. Whether they were staff smiling because they were making miracles happen for hundreds of impoverished children, or they were “immune compromised” patients smiling because they were at the only place that could placate their disease, or they were frightened, yet patient, parents smiling for relatively obvious reasons, people knew that this was the place to be.
The Angkor Hospital for Children, located in Siem Reap, is the only place of refuge for the impecunious masses of both urban and rural Cambodia; as the government hospitals are far too expensive, this hospital treats over 400 children everyday, gratis; if that isn’t charity, then I don’t know what is… The day that I spent at the hospital was life changing, not because I saw suffering that broke me or saw benevolence beaming from every staff member – although this isn’t wholly untrue – but because I saw the power of the human condition.
This hospital was erected to fill a necessary gap in the lives of thousands of sick and suffering children, by people who were not that much better off themselves, just because it needed to be done; that is the human condition. I was fortunate enough to go along on a homecare visit, where several doctors make home visits to the poorest of patients in the rural areas because they can’t themselves get to the hospital, and I saw how dependant these families were on the medicine, advice, and attention of the home-care doctors.
As we pulled up in the newly donated “Trethewey Mobile” the families all came out to greet us, and although someone in their family was quite ill, they were again, smiling. I watched the whole family, who watched their sick family member, who watched the health care worker and saw the interconnectedness; these people desperately need this assistance, and are getting the best medical care Cambodia can offer.
During this visit I was of absolutely no use, aside from the fact that I tell everyone who makes the mistake of asking me about my trip to Google the hospital and donate, I plan on going back this summer (hopefully they will have me!) to be of some real use to someone other than myself. I saw how incredibly blessed I was to be born in a geographically ideal place, but I also saw how no matter where you go people have needs and certain people with the drive and good conscience to do so attend to those needs. I hope for your sake, whoever you are reading this, that you make the journey over to the hospital, and see for yourself the amazing work being done to address the incredible need that never ceases to grow. I hope that when you do go you stop briefly in the waiting hall; never again in your life will you see patience and gratitude from a mass of uncomfortable children and worried parents and terribly busy nurses and doctors. This place, for many more reasons than I have mentioned here, is truly one-of-a-kind, and truly in need of your support.
- Julia Hodgkinson, Volunteer