Many Cambodians do not have access to affordable, licensed healthcare and often avoid seeing a doctor in fear of the privatized costs involved. Furthermore, Koh Rong island does not have a hospital or sanitary medical facility and all serious illness must be dealt with at mainland hospitals. If families cannot afford it they simply go without, often leading to infection and ongoing problems.
Friends of Koh Rong has always offered basic free healthcare, and with the recent arrival of Tier, a fully trained Khmer nurse, FoKR now runs a small healthcare facility out of the centre. With the dedication and hard work of Nurse Tier, FoKR is able to offer treatment to tourists and locals who become ill. For many locals, Friends of Koh Rong house is the first port of call when illness strikes, and the little to no cost involved makes it both easy and accessible for all families.
Many of the healthcare problems that we encounter in our informal clinic exist due to malnutrition. There is minimal agriculture on Koh Rong, and the cost of buying vegetables from the mainland is prohibitive for most families, meaning that many children’s’ diets are limited: rice, fish and cheap sugary treats. To help address this problem, nutrition and healthy diet lessons are incorporated into the English curriculum, to give the children of Koh Rong the knowledge they need to make the best decisions regarding their food choices. In addition, Nurse Tier conducts regular workshops in different areas of health and nutrition.