Yesterday morning, Mr. Pros picked me up in his taxi at 5:45, we drove over to pick up Sophie Goyet, a midwife, MPH study coordinator for the REDI study in the Kampong Cham Provincial Hospital and we made the 2 1/2 drive out over the Churoy Changva bridge crossing the Tonle Sap and on up along the Mekong to Kampong Cham. I had to pay Mr. Pros $10 more than his usual $60 fee for the RT, because it is the Chinese New Year. Fair enough. I always enjoy those early morning drives out into the fascinating Cambodian countryside. We stopped in front of a traditional Cambodian house along the way so I could take a photo of a beautiful lotus blossom. Some of the family came out to see what I was doing so Sophie and I lingered to talk with them and I took some photos of Sophie and the family. I think that they must all have been sisters in an earlier life.
Ms. Phan Daryven is a new graduate of the Technical School for Medical Care who was hired last year to work in the Kampong Cham hospital lab and has expressed in interest in, and an aptitude, for diagnostic microbiology. I was thrilled, of course, to meet a young TSMC graduate interested in microbiology who hasn’t been grabbed by one of the many private biomedical laboratories. As a Cambodian government employee, she receives no salary from the government for the first year of employment. She will receive that as a lump sum after one year on the job.
Sophie had arranged a meeting with two of the Kampong Cham hospital doctors involved in the study of nosocomial soft tissue infections. I showed them my Power Point on DMDP in Cambodia which emphasizes the value of a routine diagnostic microbiology laboratory to a hospital and the great work that Ms. Nhem Somary is doing in the microbiology lab in their hospital. I also emphasized that the microbiology lab needed ongoing support from the doctors and how the doctors and the laboratory needed to work together to share information. I hope that I wasn’t too emphatic.
I was anxious to know if that little 3G USB modem I bought from metfone would allow me to connect to the internet there in Kampong Cham because I thought they might be a great tool for keeping the microbiology labs connected. I opened my laptop, plugged in the device, opened Skype, called Dr. Ellen Jo Baron, she answered it on her Blackberry from aboard a boat where she was whale watching in Hawaii. Clearly that little modem works! Connections.