Doctor ‘enriched’ by Cambodian experience

Dr Mark Flynn is returning to Cambodia as a volunteer with Awareness Cambodia.
Dr Mark Flynn is returning to Cambodia as a volunteer with Awareness Cambodia.

Dr Flynn will join Awareness Cambodia’s Operation Nightingale, which provides international medical staff to medical centres and mobile clinics.

He is part of a six-member team of doctors and nurses who will work alongside Cambodian medical teams in the war-ravaged country.

Having volunteered at Kampong Speu last year, Dr Flynn has a better idea of what to expect: hot and humid conditions, friendly staff and happy, grateful patients.

On his first visit, the clinician said he dealt with standard medical problems such as hypertension and diabetes at a quiet local clinic.

He then travelled by four-wheel-drive to remote clinics usually staffed by visiting nurses and where the heat was challenging.

‘Anyone needing to go to hospital would have to travel by tuk-tuk or motorcycle on 30 or 40km of unmade roads,’ he said.

‘In poor weather, it would be near on impossible to get out.’

He said the experience was enriching.

‘When I finished at the end of a day I was tired, but full of energy because it was such an amazing experience,’ he said.

‘The people were so friendly and appreciative and seemed pretty happy.’

Dr Flynn, who flies out this Friday, said he would like to do more, but the short visit fitted his work and family commitments.

He will stay at Awareness Cambodia’s House of Progress, which accommodates young adults studying at high school and mentored by local staff.

The humanitarian organisation also has accommodation for orphans and young people studying at university or technical college.