Sisocheata Cheong is a midwife who works with the health team as part of the Maddox-Jolie-Pitt (MJP) project in Samlout, Cambodia. MJP are working in partnership with Improving Global Health in the UK to improve healthcare in rural Samlout. IGH send NHS volunteers to work with the MJP health team in implementing projects that address a range of issues from hygiene and sanitation to physical disability and mental health.
‘My name is Sisocheata; I am 28 years old. I am one of the health team members working in MJP. I passed high school with a great score, so I could get a scholarship to study in medical school. I took a further exam, and I was appointed to a health centre, but it’s very far and I couldn’t afford to go there, and for the first year I will not be paid by the government to work. So I stopped. I stopped work in the health centre. Then I met with one doctor. He’s a paediatric doctor in Battambang Referral Hospital, so he told me about MJP. So I applied, and I can now work as the health team assistant in MJP.
For me, working at MJP you have the opportunity to work in the office and also in the field, where you can exchange ideas, educate the patient. And also it’s different from working in a hospital. Working in the hospital, you’re only like – you treat one patient, and you only have one patient at a time. But working here, where you go to educate the villagers in one village, you can check a lot of them. So you can help them to prevent illness and also without spending the money, the time to go to the hospital or go to the health centre. And another thing that I like my job, is having the time to work with the UK Fellows. Because they’re really great. They come here – you know that they come every six months, sometimes four months, five months, but they have new ideas, new things, and they really motivate me to work. Sometimes you feel like, “Oh, this thing will not work well.” But they come up with ideas and really encourage me, inspire me, to – “Don’t give up, you need to try, to do this, and if it doesn’t work maybe we can approach another way to make it work,” something like that. So I feel like it’s a very great opportunity that I have time, I have a chance to work with them.’