Cambodia an ‘astounding success’

An oculoplastic-trained surgeon, Dr JJ Khong is just one of a number of ANZSOPS Fellows from Australia/New Zealand who visit Cambodia every two months to conduct clinical teaching, take part in structured topic discussion and supervise surgery as a Sight For All Visionary.

Oculoplastic-trained Visionary Dr Jwu Jin (JJ) Khong instructs Fellows at the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

“On reviewing previous visionary reports of this teaching program, it is evident that oculoplastic training is an astounding success. The current Fellows, having no experience in oculoplastics at the beginning of training, have rapidly developed their clinical acumen and surgical skill, such that they can now perform common eyelid and tear duct surgeries independently. ”– Dr Jwu Jin (JJ) Khong

Oculoplastic-trained Visionary Dr Jwu Jin (JJ) Khong, who recently returned from a tour of Cambodia, believes the current in-country program to train two young ophthalmologists in the sub-speciality areas of vitreo-retinal and oculoplastic surgery is a great success.

“On reviewing previous visionary reports of this teaching program, it is evident that oculoplastic training is an astounding success,” said Dr Khong.

“The current Fellows, having no experience in oculoplastics at the beginning of training, have rapidly developed their clinical acumen and surgical skill, such that they can now perform common eyelid and tear duct surgeries independently.

“This will have a long-lasting impact on eye care subspecialty service provision in Cambodia,” she said.

Dr Khong’s recent visionary tour of Cambodia built on the success of previous Visionaries, she says.

An oculoplastic-trained surgeon, ANZSOPS Fellow from Australia/New Zealand visits the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh every two months to conduct clinical teaching, take part in structured topic discussion and supervise surgery.

“The Cambodian population is largely serviced by limited ophthalmology resources and there is an identified need to train locally-qualified ophthalmologists in sub-speciality areas including paediatric, neuro-ophthalmology, vitreo-retinal and oculoplastic surgery,” Dr Khong said.

“The goal of the Cambodian in-country fellowship is to train two young ophthalmologists in assessing patients with orbital, tear duct and eyelid diseases and to manage these conditions, including helping them develop advanced surgical skills in oculoplastic surgery.

“A secondary goal is to identify needs at local public hospitals and provide infrastructure and equipment training to enhance ophthalmic care provision in Cambodia,” she said.

Dr Khong said she found her recent Visionary tour of Cambodia both enlightening and humbling.

Seeing how thrifty the Cambodian doctors are made me feel grateful for what we have here in Australia,” she said.

“Generally, nothing goes to waste and every bit of available resource is fully utilized.

“We would take turns to examine patients on the slit lamp, but when it came to my turn, there would always be no light to get a view.

“It didn’t take long for me to realize the slit lamp was turned off between patients.

“An aged couple came to the hospital from a distant province for the woman to have surgery to repair a droopy eyelid. It was quite a journey and effort to get medical treatment and the patient was very poor,” Dr Khong said.

 “The Fellows waived the treatment fees and completed her surgery.”

Despite Sight For All’s positive impact in Cambodia, much more still needs to be done, said Dr Khong.

Sight for All is having an impact in improving the quality of eye care in Cambodia by providing training and infrastructure,” she said.

“But it is still difficult for the very poor to access treatment for cataract surgery, as generally Cambodian government hospitals still need to charge treatment fees for patients, with rates reduced for the very poor.

“Despite that, some of the very poor still can’t afford their required surgery.”

Dr Khong, JJ to her friends, always aspired to be a medical volunteer and promote medical teaching and services in developing countries.

“While I was training in Adelaide in 2005-2009, Sight for All was newly established by Dr Henry Newland and Dr James Muecke,” she said.

“They have taken this project far and wide. The goals of Sight For All remain relevant and appropriate over time.

“The organisation is by far, one of the most structured, well run NGOs I support.”

Dr Khong has developed a professional bond and lasting interest in the Cambodian eye and health system since returning from her recent teaching tour.

She still keeps in touch with the Fellows to discuss cases and exchange ideas.

“I have learnt from the experience of being a Sight For All Visionary as much as I have contributed to the training program,” said Dr Khong.

“I have enjoyed the experience of sharing, giving and getting to know the functioning of another health care system,” she said.

“While I was training in Adelaide in 2005-2009, Sight for All was newly established by Dr Henry Newland and Dr James Muecke. They have taken this project far and wide. The goals of Sight For All remain relevant and appropriate over time. The organisation is by far, one of the most structured, well run NGOs I support. ”– Dr Jwu Jin (JJ) Khong

Dr JJ Khong… proud of her voluntary work as a Visionary with Sight For All.

40 million people see like this.
Scroll to Top
Loading...