As part of a program called Canada-Asia Regional Emerging Infectious Diseases, Dr. Ted Kuschak, from the Canadian Public Health Agency facilitated a two-day workshop to create a public health laboratory network in Cambodia. That was an exceedingly difficult two days for him because the hospital directors, lab chiefs and staff of the Bureau of Medical Laboratory Sciences know what needs to be done to create a lab network but nobody in attendance was at a sufficiently high level in the Ministry of Health to make the network happen. I remember that the US CDC/GAP put on a week long workshop in 2004 to create a lab network and all the participants signed an agreement to do just that. Unfortunately, there is still no laboratory network, locally, nationally or regional.

3G USB modem
The hospital labs in Cambodia do not have internet connections. Now some of the telecommunications companies here are selling USB modems and internet connectivity. The first company to do so here is Metfone, so I spent 1 1/2 hours this morning learning the system. Unfortunately, all of Metfone’s documentation is in Khmer, which I can not read. Chandy took all that time to explain to me how to connect using the USB modem, which package to buy and how to refill my account. Chandy happened to be in the office and got roped into helping me because his English is good. But this is Saturday and it was his day off. I was very appreciative of his help.
I am anxious to know if these modems will work well in the provinces. They may provide a way to connect the labs where we are working. The USB modems themselves cost $40 and then a package giving 4G of data transfer costs another $12. I’m going to take mine to Kampong Cham next week to test it in the laboratory.