Sheep blood is an essential growth factor for some pathogenic bacteria and the colonial morphology and hemolytic pattern of these bacteria have been well described on sheep blood agar. In order to have a reliable supply of sheep blood, DMDP has maintained a small flock of sheep at Resource Development International (RDI) Cambodia. RDI is about 11 kms. outside Phnom Penh along National Hwy. 1 on the way to the border with Vietnam. DMDP is fortunate that RDI has pens for sheep where a responsible team of Cambodian men do an excellent job of caring for the sheep.
With the assistance of Ph. Sam Sopheap and Ph. Uch Monipheap and the support of Dr. Sau Sokunna of the Bureau of Laboratory Services of the Ministry of Health, Joanne Letchford, the DMDP Cambodia Country Director, organized another microbiology manager’s meeting. This was held in a large conference room courtesy of the Takeo Provincial Health Department. Every important meeting like this begins with short speeches and then a group photo. During this meeting, microbiologists from Cambodian hospitals presented some interesting cases. Dr. Peter Gilligan then divided the group into teams for his ID quiz sessions. Dr. Gilligan is famous for his case presentations. He has published four editions of the widely used “Cases in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases”.
DMDP was pleased and honored to have Dr. Peter Gilligan come to Cambodia at our invitation. Dr. Gilligan is a Professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and the Director of the Microbiology and Immunology Laboratories at the UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. He is the director of a CPEP-approved Postdoctoral Training Program in Medical and Public Health Microbiology. Dr. Gilligan continues to serve the American Society for Microbiology in many leadership roles. Dr. Gilligan met with, taught and delighted, Cambodian physicians, microbiology laboratory staff, medical technology and medical students. He saw Burkholderia pseudomallei growing on an agar plate in the microbiology laboratory of the Takeo Provincial Referral Hospital. Dr. Gilligan was enthusiastic about the DMDP program and Cambodia in general. Although he was here for only ten days, he even took a Khmer language lesson. He has already expressed an interest in returning to Cambodia and more teaching at the University of Health Sciences and we look forward to his return.
DMDP is very proud that DMDP Cambodia Country Director, Joanne Letchford has now graduated from James Cook University with a Master of Public Health majoring in Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness. Jo worked hard studying online courses, writing papers and attending classes in person at JCU, Townsville, Queensland, Australia, a very prestigious university. Jo did all this studying, writing and participating in classes while doing a fantastic job supervising Cambodian laboratory mentors, organizing workshops, consulting at the central media making laboratory, providing technical support to staff in microbiology laboratories, attending many partner meetings and a number of other activities as the DMDP Cambodia Country Director. Jo passed her courses in this program with Distinction or High Distinction.
With support from WHO Cambodia and the Bureau of Medical Laboratory Services of the Ministry of Health, DMDP organized a three day workshop on Pathogen Identification attended by participants from a number of Cambodian microbiology laboratories and students from the Technical School for Medical Care (TSMC). Joanne Letchford, all of the DMDP Cambodian mentors and laboratory staff from NAMRU-2 and the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope made presentations. The participants enjoyed using Poll Everywhere, a software program they could use on their smartphones, to answer pre-and post-test questions.