Editor’s note: Nandini Bakshi, MD, is a neurologist at Kaiser Permanente Antioch (Calif. ) Medical Center. She is serving in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with the Kaiser Global Health Program on behalf of the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope in Phnom Penh.
Day 2 in Phnom Penh: So far it has been as expected although I was struck by the lack of resources, even relative to other counties in Southeast Asia that I have visited. I spent some time at Sihanouk these past couple of days though work there has come to a near standstill due to a lack of funding. (One of the primary relief organizations supporting the hospital is based in Japan and thus its resources have been put to work there following the catastrophic earthquakes there earlier this year.)
People are warm and friendly. They would like teaching to continue and are happy to have me teach. Next week I have two lectures per day scheduled plus seeing any case they want to present to me. They presented a case of a HIV-positive young man who had a sudden neurologic decline and is being treated for presumptive toxo, though he could have central nervous system lymphoma or just about anything else.
Thanks to Dr. Suzy Fitzgerald, I made contact with Tola Hok, a neurologist who works at Preah Kossamak Hospital nearby. She did her residency in France and is one of six neurologists in the country, all recently trained in France and all work in Phnom Penh.
Kossamak is a public teaching hospital and serves people for a nominal fee. There is no CT scanner or EEG machine at the hospital. The entire country has one EEG machine and though Dr. Hok trained in epilepsy in France, she is not able to keep up her skill. She asked me to do a talk for the medical students, so yesterday I spoke about stroke to approximately 70 medical students. Their English proficiency is limited so Dr. Hok translated for me. The students asked
questions and were energetic and motivated, for the most part.
They would like me to do a lecture every day at Kossamak so I expect to
be busy the next week. It has been good to have overlapped with Rody
Yoshinaka, who leaves tomorrow. Rody has been busy teaching endoscopy
and seeing GI cases.
This weekend I head off to Siem Reap for temple hopping, if the rain will allow.
Nandini Bakshi MD
Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center