A successful visit to Cambodia

Dr. Michael Noble, Chair of CMPT and our sister program POLQM was invited to participate in training and education programs for laboratory managers and laboratory quality managers in Cambodia.

The training and education programs for laboratory managers and laboratory quality managers in Cambodia are  being performed under a contract with the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) which is part of the School of Global Health, University of Washington.

The training program was held in the National Institute for Public Health in Phnom Penh and included people from 12 laboratories across Cambodia (26 in all).  Our team consisted of one person from Singapore and one from the United States and myself (none of whom spoke Khmer) and two from Cambodia (who did speak Khmer, and some English) who had taken our course before as an on-line experience.

The course content being passed on was from our UBC Certificate Course in Laboratory Quality Management, but instead of providing the course as an virtual classroom on-line education (VCOLE) it was requested that we do it in an actual classroom, which required us to visit Cambodia this time, and two more times in 2019.  Quality Improvement is seen as a top priority by the Cambodian Ministry of Health.

Working through a Khmer simultaneous translator is a critical skill when English is not a first or second language for most Cambodians that one must learn quickly. Fortunately all the training presentation slides were projected both in English and Khmer and we had the benefit of a highly talented, and patient interpreter. Communication and dialogue developed within a few hours, or at least by the end of the first day.

Each day the discussions became increasingly more comfortable and effective, and a strong sense of rapport replaced blank stares.

Even with those difficulties we made it successfully through nearly 20 hours of presentations and an equal amount of discussion; we were more than satisfied with the degree of learning and comprehension as measured by the quizzes, and we were also pleased with the positive evaluations that we received for our teaching efforts.

The week was a ton of work, not made easier by the heat and humidity, but incredibly rewarding.  I look forward to returning to Phnom Penh and my new friends in February for round two.  Preparation work starts in September.

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