Paula Dhanda, MD
Paula Dhanda, MD
Obstetrics & Gynecology · Kelseyville, CA

Cambodia Mission 2022

January 6th
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Project Description

In January 2020, nonprofit organization Worldwide Healing Hands (WHH), mobilized an experienced volunteer medical team and travelled to Phnom Penh for our first medical mission in Cambodia. This mission focused on the prevention of cervical cancer and resulted in care provided for 84 patients, training for 39 healthcare staff, and a sustainable training program that continues to successfully screen and treat women for cervical cancer today. This mission was a resounding success and is the blueprint for our next medical mission in Cambodia.

In January 2022, WHH is joining Cambodia-based nonprofit, Surgeons for Cambodia, for our second medical mission to Cambodia in an effort to provide cervical cancer prevention and GYN surgery to the public. Our goal for this mission is to decrease preventable maternal mortality and cervical cancer by increasing access to skilled gynecologic care and low-resource cervical cancer screening (VIA). While in Cambodia, our team will visit 3 hospitals in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh to conduct surgeries and train healthcare workers in prevention procedures for cervical cancer.

Population Served

Nowhere in modern medicine are global disparities more striking than in surgery. This inequity results in the deaths of countless people annually and is especially apparent in obstetrics and gynecology. While Surgeons for Cambodia will focus on a multitude of specialities, the WHH team will focus specifically on gynecologic surgery and cervical cancer prevention.

Cervical cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in developing countries. By 2035, this preventable disease is expected to be the number one cause of death for women worldwide. WHH teaches the “single visit'' approach so that women, no matter where they live, can be screened and receive appropriate treatment during the same appointment to effectively prevent the development of cervical cancer. During this mission, the WHH team will teach this method to healthcare staff at all 3 hospitals and will encourage them to continue this training subsequent to our departure.

Expected Impact

This mission will serve to provide desperately needed surgeries and cervical cancer prevention procedures to the women of Cambodia, and will focus on training healthcare staff in the “single visit” approach. We believe that training should not just be stand-alone presentations, but also help build institutional capacity to provide for the hospital’s own future training needs (e.g. training the trainer). We view our Cambodian colleagues as full and capable partners, and by working together we can build local capacity and sustainability.

After the conclusion of this mission, our team will continue to communicate regularly with our Cambodian partners to ensure training for cervical cancer prevention continues to run smoothly. WHH will plan a follow up mission to Cambodia for the end of 2022.

Trip Photos & Recap

For our second mission to Cambodia, Worldwide Healing Hands joined US/Cambodia based nonprofit, Surgeons for Cambodia, in an effort to provide desperately needed surgery for three hospitals located in Siem Reap, Preah Vihear and Phnom Penh. During this two week mission, Worldwide Healing Hands provided GYN surgery, cervical cancer screening and consultations for nearly 30 women and the combined teams oversaw care for more than 100 patients.

In Cambodia, as with most other developing nations, only the wealthy can afford medical care and surgeries as the cost of travel, lodging and hospital expenses is insurmountable in relation to average income. This mission focused on providing care to the people who needed it most; those who would normally be unable to access life-saving surgeries and treatments.