1 January through 31 March 2015
|1 January through 31 March|
|SERVICES||Adult Men||Adult Women||Children Under 14||TOTAL|
|Number of villages worked in:||9||General Medicine||376||1451||0||1827|
|Number of clinics held:||114||Ante Natal Care||0||121||0||121|
|Home care visit||1||12||1||14|
|Visual Acuity Exams /sch children||0||0||453||453|
The first three months of 2015 were gentle months. Warm, not hot days and cool nights were the rule. The Lake’s waters began to disappear rapidly towards the end of February, and by mid-March the TLC-4 was taken out of service at the water levels dropped below 40cm.
We are anticipating a lower than usual level of water this dry season as rainfall and snowfall throughout the Mekong region has been below “normal”.
Clinical care continues to be the core activity for both the Lake and River Teams but our own findings through surveys and mass examinations have shifted much of our intellectual energy into a parallel effort.
“It’s all about nutrition.”
This has been the message that the staff of TLC has been hearing since the beginning of 2014, and that they continue to hear even louder in this first quarter of 2015. Its echo is reaching to the Village Health Volunteers who conduct both large and small group sessions.
TLC staff supervise while a new Village Health Volunteer takes advantage of the clinic’s waiting area to engage in a teaching/learning session about nutrition. (The artificially red colored sugar water was later discarded, but not without tears.)
As the low-water season is upon us, and the ability to create “proper” floating gardens will not return for several more months, the TLC team has taken once again to the schools to encourage school children to lead the way with a different strategy.
TLC’s Ky Kolyan leads this teaching session.
The school children in the village of Pek Chikrey were taught the basics of nutrition by describing food at either “body building food”, “body maintenance food” and “body energy food”. When asked to prioritize their food tastes between fish, meat, vegetables and rice the children ranked vegetables the highest—they learn quickly!—with fish at the bottom. They are obviously quite bored with a diet of mostly just fish and rice.
To bring these lessons home, TLC started a “bottle garden” project with the school children modeled on our Stung Sen River Clinic’s own bottle garden. This methodology was started by one of TLC’s cooks, Si Sathya, who is an avid home gardener, and wanted to have the freshest herbs and spices for the dishes she prepared for TLC’s staff. From just a couple of bottles filled with local soil she expanded the idea from just basil and chilli, to the local spinach and green onions along with mint and even tomatoes.
As absolutely nothing succeeds like success, this method of home gardening has spread along the river. Perhaps everyone isn’t as ambitious as Sathya, but the idea has taken on momentum as Sathya teaches both proper nutrition and how to cook.
School children learn how to create their own hanging bottle gardens using discarded PET bottles and local soil that is now available during the low-water season.
For this first step green onions were chosen for their ease of care and resilience to the inevitable forgetfulness of some of the children. TLC plans to add more vegetables to the menu one by one over the next months.
In the past few years HomeCare has become a regular activity for TLC’s clinical teams. The aged population on the Tonle Sap Lake is increasing and a number of frail elderly and other handicapped handicapped people in our villages are not able to get to our clinics.
TLC staff and volunteers hike along the dry Stung Sen riverbed in Kompong Thom Province on their way to visit a house-bound patient.
Drs. Sopheak and Kamsan examine an elderly woman in her home as family members anxiously look on.
Photos by: Bryan Watt (as noted) and Toyomi Maehara