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Providing Hope in Cambodia

  • April 17, 2007
  Patients waiting to be selected for treatment, by lottery
 Patients waiting to be selected for treatment, by lottery

A 2007 Campaign Story

Hundreds of people wait patiently in the outdoor waiting area of Cambodia’s Sihanouk Hospital.  Each is hopeful that today his or her name will be pulled from the lottery.   Residents from all over the country travel to Phnom Penh because they can not afford health care and the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope (SHCH) offers free medical attention. The hospital is among only a handful of centers in the country able to provide diagnosis and treatment for chronic diseases. For nearly a decade, AmeriCares has been delivering medicines and medical supplies which support Hope Worldwide in its efforts to improve health care in Cambodia.

A growing problem in Cambodia which AmeriCares is helping to address is diabetes mellitus. SHCH, which is operated by Hope Worldwide, is the only hospital in the country that is proactively addressing the increasing problem of diabetes.  In 1997, SHCH established a Diabetes Mellitus Center (DMC).  As the only site of diabetes education, training, research and patient care in the country, the DMC currently serves 30 patients a day, and provides continuing care for more than 3,260 registered patients.

Diabetes mellitus is a disorder in which blood levels of glucose (a simple sugar) are extremely high because the body doesn’t release or use insulin adequately. Insulin is a hormone that is released from the pancreas and is responsible for maintaining blood sugar levels. Diabetes results when the body does not produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels or when cells don’t respond appropriately to insulin.   Diabetes is a life-threatening epidemic and according to the World Health Organization, the more than 180 million people living with diabetes is likely to double by 2030. Almost 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.

 Patients in recovery in Phnom Penh
 Patients in recovery at a hospital in Phnom Penh

Most recently, AmeriCares sent a year supply of an oral diabetes medicine that helps to control the amount of glucose in the body. The treatment decreases the amount of glucose the body absorbs from food and the amount of glucose made by the liver; it also increases the body’s response to insulin. And, thanks to the generous donations from long-time partner BD, AmeriCares continues to provide the hospital with insulin syringes to help those suffering from this disease.

AmeriCares donations help to defray the pharmaceutical expenses of the hospital, as it continues to provide life-saving treatment to the Cambodian people.  Working with Hope Worldwide, AmeriCares has helped to better the lives of many more people in Cambodia, delivering humanitarian aid valued at over $95 million.  SHCH is AmeriCares largest partner in Asia, providing an estimated 40% of the hospital’s medicines. 

To learn more about how AmeriCares is helping to improve the lives of the people in Cambodia, including the support of the SHCH breast cancer initiative,  click on the link here.  

Help AmeriCares save lives in Cambodia and Around the World. »