All the early warning signs were there. A new strain of the dengue virus in Cambodia had emerged in early 2019 and in January and February there was a slight rise in cases. Therefore, Chenla Children’s Healthcare began to prepare for an epidemic by expanding staffing, procuring supplies and reinforcing training. When the truly big rise in cases hit in May, space and funding were our largest challenges during the outbreak not human capacity. By utilizing every inch of space in our 600 square meter building and keeping costs exceedingly low by leveraging our public-private partnership model with the Cambodian Ministry of Health ($180 per dengue patient including ICU cases), we have been able to save many lives with our limited funding. To date, Chenla has treated over 820 dengue fever cases this year, including cases with hemorrhagic and shock symptoms. During this difficult period, Chenla of course continues to care for many other children with other common illnesses such as malaria, pneumonia, sepsis, premature birth and malnutrition. Our 24 bed facility has consistently expanded to 60 beds and beyond.
Our primary aim remains simple even during the current dengue epidemic – to improve the care of pediatric patients in one of the remotest regions of Cambodia regardless of their family’s ability to pay. No child is ever turned away. Every single dollar makes an impact and no funds go wasted. Our secondary aim remains to show the high impact effectiveness of a streamline public private partnership and how it can be replicated for a growing common good. Please drop us a note if you would like to become involved and please keep Chenla Children’s Healthcare in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.