Written by Izzul, Year 2 Pharmacy (NUS) Project Director Project Damai 2017
Project DAMAI is an OCIP initiated by a group of NUS undergraduates which started in 2014. Our current team is made up of 12 nursing, 1 medical and 3 pharmacy NUS undergraduates. DAMAI is an acronym which stands for Delivering Assistance and Medical Aid Internationally. Together, we embarked on this project, aiming to improve the healthcare needs of those in communities where healthcare services and facilities are inadequate. As healthcare students, we aspire to be health advocates – raising awareness and delivering aid in society in hopes of moving towards a health conscious society.
Unlike the previous years where we did our project in Indonesia, this year, we collaborated with Muslim’s Healthcare Professional Association (MHPA) and Emaan Foundation to provide help to the community in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. During the trip, we were accompanied by Ustaz Khaifiruddin from Emaan Foundation and Nurse Nur Afifah from MHPA. The trip was held over 8 days from 18 July 2017 to 25 July 2017. We set out to improve the general healthcare of the villagers in Sihanoukville, with a focus on several chronic health conditions, based on data gathered from our research and provided by our partners. Similar to past years, we provided health screenings and health education services and also school outreach.
Before heading over to Sihanoukville, we spent the first few days in Phnom Penh where we learnt more about the healthcare system in Cambodia. We were given a tour of Japan Hospital Phnom Penh and National Maternal & Child Health Centre to gain more insight about the hospital’s services and the overall infrastructure of the hospitals. Also, Ustaz Khaifiruddin conducted a sharing session between the Project DAMAI students and some Cambodian healthcare students and professionals for us to share our thoughts on the healthcare system and its relation to Islamic Principles. It was a fruitful and meaningful discussion and we managed to build rapport and friendship with the Cambodian students via this session.
Over at Sihanoukville we conducted the Community Health Screening and we managed to reach out to a total of 137 patients at Ban Teay Prey Village over 2 days. We did basic screening services such as blood pressure and blood glucose checks, temperature and Body Mass Index (BMI). We also had an acute clinic for patients who urgently needed to see the doctor where they are diagnosed and prescribed medications. At the end of the whole screening process, the villagers were given education regarding topics such as diabetes, hypertension, smoking cessation, dietary plans and hygiene depending on their requirements with the help of our Cambodian counterpart. By providing health education, we intend to raise awareness of the symptoms of the different common problems and proper management to prevent complications.
In addition, we also promoted healthy living to the children there by conducting a school outreach session at
Anikmah Islamiyah School. We educated the children regarding hand and dental hygiene and also raised awareness about the adversities of smoking. We providedverbal education with the help of visual aids and some games to inculcate the good habits.
All in all, the entire programme took place with minimal problems and we hope our beneficiaries benefited from our programmes as much as we did. Special thanks to Ustaz Khaifiruddin and Nurse Afifah whom assisted us throughout the duration of the trip. We hope to be able to return back to Sihanoukville for the next few years to keep tabs on the progress of our programmes and ensure that it is sustainable in the long run and beneficial for the community there.