The primary focus of TLC is to provide these isolated villagers with competent and consistent health care comparable to what can be found in a well managed health center. The Lake Clinic seeks to mitigate the detrimental impact of preventable illnesses through early diagnosis of disease; treatment on an out-patient basis; referral to a hospital (and assistance in transportation to the hospital) when necessary as well as health education.
This was first accomplished through the construction of the TLC-1 (or the “Charming Duckling” as she was sometimes known.
Our Charming Duckling was launched in 2008 and allowed a basic healthcare team of one doctor, a pediatric nurse, and a midwife to travel to these remote areas and remain there for 3 days each week. The TLC-1 slept five people comfortably and was equipped with a kitchen, a dining area, toilet and shower. Five floating clinics were constructed and launched in 2012. Four were placed strategically on the lake, and the fifth was towed to the Stung Sen River. In 2013 we launched the TLC-4, a twin-engine catamaran that provides speedier access to the floating villages and can easily provide ambulance service.
Since its humble beginnings in 2008 TLC has grown and now employs three doctors, three midwives, two registrars, two cooks and we have expanded our reach across the lake to the Stung Sen River. Thus two clinical teams are operational. When appropriate ex-pat professionals also join the team; doctors, dentists and physical therapists have successfully completed missions with TLC. TLC also maintains other smaller boats that allow access to villages that would otherwise be completely cut off during the dry season. The Tonle Sap Lake is a very dynamic environment. Water depths can vary more than 9 meters (30 feet) over a year’s time, and there needs to be a boat for every season.
A vast array of other health related issues (social, economic, environmental) can be addressed while on site. With the enormity of health related problems one encounters in this part of the world, we cannot hope to meet all needs for everyone. However, through education, screening and proper referrals TLC can do much to mitigate the disabling effects of disease and trauma. By concentrating on treating and educating villagers about these problems we will go a long way to eliminating their day to day pain and suffering, as well as creating a foundation for lessening its prevalence in the future.
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