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Open AccessArticle

Illnesses Encountered During Medical Volunteering in Takeo Province, Cambodia

Division of Breast and Endocrine Surgery, Department of Surgery, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Gyeonggido 15355, Korea
Department of Internal Medicine, Barun Mind Hospital, Daejeon 35220, Korea
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Korea University Guro Hospital, Seoul 08308, Korea
Department of Dermatology, Guro Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul 08308, Korea
Department of Pediatrics, Guro Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul 08308, Korea
Tokyo Beauty Clinic, Chomkamon, Phnom Penh 12300, Cambodia
Department of Radiation Oncology, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Gyeonggido 15355, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Hye-Yoon Lee and Sung Hun Choi contributed equally to this work.
Medicina 2020, 56(1), 30;
Received: 7 November 2019 / Revised: 3 January 2020 / Accepted: 8 January 2020 / Published: 10 January 2020
Background and Objectives: Medical volunteering seeks to meet the clinical needs of underserved areas, but has been criticized for difficulties in addressing local health issues and resultant lack of sustainability. Our team has visited rural Cambodia annually since 2012. This study reports the illnesses encountered during the recent mission and share our experiences to improve the efficiency of medical volunteering. Materials and Methods: Infrastructure, such as public electricity or water, was unavailable, hence most medical care and records were hand-performed. We categorized (1) primary diagnoses (chief complaints) by duration of symptoms, and (2) primary and secondary diagnoses (illnesses that were not related to the chief complaint) by severity of illness since patients commonly reported multiple symptoms. Blood pressure and anthropometric values were also checked and analyzed. Results: We encountered 317 adult and 141 pediatric patients. Among adults, 61.3% had persistent chronic (>6 month) symptoms of their chief complaints. The commonest diagnoses of chronic symptoms were musculoarthritis (31.5%) and gastroesophageal reflux disease and/or gastritis (21.7%). Hypertension and/or cardiac problems were relatively common among males (13.6%). The most common diagnosis among the severest cases (specialized or intensive care recommended) was cardiac problems (14.8%), often with abnormalities in sonography or electrocardiogram. For children, the overwhelming majority of diagnoses were related to acute symptoms and low severity, and approximately half were cases of the common cold. Commonly prescribed drugs were antacids or mucosal protectors (31.3%), Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other painkillers (27.6%), and antiparasites (17.7%) in adults, and NSAIDs (44.7%) and antiparasites (23.2%) in children. Among adults, 32.7% were diagnosed with hypertension, and body mass index (p = 0.003) and age (p < 0.001) were both correlated with hypertension and its grade. Conclusion: Our study offers practical help to volunteer health workers planning to visit Southeast Asia.
Keywords: medical volunteering; Cambodia; hypertension medical volunteering; Cambodia; hypertension
MDPI and ACS Style

Lee, H.-Y.; Choi, S.H.; Rim, J.S.; Lim, H.-K.; Heo, Y.S.; Shin, J.; Aieng, R.; Rim, C.H. Illnesses Encountered During Medical Volunteering in Takeo Province, Cambodia. Medicina 2020, 56, 30.

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