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Public Health Internships in Cambodia

Project Overview
  • PLACEMENT LOCATION: Koh Dach Island, but will travel daily from Phnom Penh
  • ROLE: To work in the field of healthcare and provide basic health services to the local island community
  • Requirements: None
  • ACCOMMODATION: Shared volunteer apartments
  • LENGTH OF PLACEMENT: From 2 weeks
  • START DATES: Flexible

A Cambodian man receives treatment from Projects Abroad Public Health interns.

Interning on the Public Health program in Cambodia with Projects Abroad is a great opportunity for those looking to gain practical experience in the field of healthcare while giving back to local communities. This internship is suitable for everyone, but is particularly useful for pre-med students looking to boost their resumes for medical school, healthcare graduates interested in adding to their skills in public health, or professionals already working in the field.

The goal of the Public Health program is to provide crucial healthcare services and ensure that disadvantaged people receive the treatment they would otherwise not be able to access or be able to afford. Not only will you be gaining meaningful experience and skills at the project, you will be providing an invaluable service to the community.

In January 2014, Projects Abroad gave their full support to the Khemara Organization and helped open three new care centers for children. The organization was the first local NGO in Cambodia to support vulnerable groups, including women, children, and underprivileged families. As our Care volunteers and Microfinance interns already support their local staff by working in these centers, we have chosen to collaborate with Khemara for our Public Health internship.

The Public Health placement is located on the island of Koh Dach, also known as the ‘Silk Island’, which only covers 30 square kilometers of land. Although you will live in Phnom Phen, you will spend an hour each day traveling to the island.

Your Role on the Public Health Project in Cambodia

Projects Abroad Public Health intern participates in an outreach at a Cambodian kindergarten.

As a Public Health intern, you will work alongside our project coordinator, who is a registered nurse with more than 40 years of experience. Together, you will conduct home visits to people living on Koh Dach. We work with Khemara, commune councils, or the local authorities to determine which families and communities require the most urgent medical assistance.

During a home visit, you will assist with conducting non-invasive testing. These tests include urine testing using multistix, which are basic diagnostic tools used to reveal the main functions of body organs that may need treatment. These multistix are highly accurate and help give a broader clinical insight into a patient’s health.

You will also test for blood pressure. It is important to note that throughout these tests, you and the other interns will never use needles for any procedure. Once these tests have been concluded, you might need to refer cases to a nearby government-funded clinic. The clinic might also provide transport for patients to relevant and appropriate hospitals or doctors if available.

Common conditions requiring further assistance may include:

  • High blood pressure/hypertension
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Arthritis and related conditions
  • Pain management in general
  • Typhoid
  • Dehydration
  • Stroke
  • Cerebral palsy (for physical therapy)

In addition, you will also have the opportunity to provide basic health services for children at kindergartens. This is a wonderful way to help children and these activities also tie in with a greater holistic approach to public health.

Testing or evaluation procedures at the kindergartens may include:

  • Skin disorders
  • Anemia (through physical symptoms)
  • Chest problems
  • Abnormal behavioral patterns
  • Social and emotional well-being
  • Basic teeth checks

On certain days, you will spend time working in the office. Here, you will work on analyzing and reporting on your findings. You will complete basic care plans after each home (and kindergarten) visit, as well as follow-ups and evaluation of intervention. These plans will work in combination with our medical management plans in order to track and monitor long-term outcomes. These care plans are basic and our staff will help you complete them.

You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Cambodia Medicine & Healthcare Management Plan.

Public Health internships in Cambodia are available for shorter periods than 4 weeks. While you will be able to gain valuable medical experience on a short-term trip, we recommend staying for a longer period to allow yourself more time to get to know the local medical system, see more of a variety of conditions and procedures, and develop stronger relationships with local medical staff.

If you are a high school student and first-time traveler you may want to consider our High School Special programs in Cambodia.

Interns seeking a different cultural experience have the option of participating on a more unique project for one week at the end of their project. For more information, please visit the Khmer Project in Cambodia page. Our Combinations Page explains how you can combine not only projects, but also destinations.

Cambodia Medicine & Healthcare Management Plan

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