Sharing medical expertise with Cambodia’s Ravy

We’ve just waved goodbye to M’Lop Tapang’s Medical Team Leader Ngov Chanravy (Ravy), who spent a fantastic week in the UK thanks to a SicKids grant, supported by the Burdett Trust for Nursing.

The equivalent to an Advanced Paediatric Nurse Practitioner / Nurse Consultant in the UK, Ravy has been running one of the most advanced medical programmes for children and young people in South West Cambodia for over a decade.

She was awarded our grant in order to spend time working within an NHS environment, alongside an excellent team of medics and nurses from the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Salford University and NHS England.

Ravy was hosted by Sue Higgins, a children’s nurse who was the first recipient of one of our outreach grants last year, when she worked alongside Ravy and her fantastic M’Lop Tapang team. Ravy stayed at Sue’s family home, and also spent time shadowing Sue at the children’s emergency department at North Manchester General Hospital. During Sue’s visit to Cambodia last year, she taught Ravy and her team about the advantages of triage when dealing with emergencies – a process Ravy has now experienced first hand.

Her visit was well-timed to coincide with the grand opening of our first-of-its-kind Sensory Space. Sensory facilities are proven to support the development of the senses – like touch, hearing and sight – through cool things like special lighting, music, tactile objects and a calming environment. While many hospitals and health centres in the UK have similar facilities in their children’s wards, there are very few with 21st Century equipment within their emergency departments.

Ravy and the SicKids team welcomed Mr Barry Dixon CBE DL, Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, and Her Excellency Dr Rathchavy Soeung, The Cambodian Ambassador to the UK to the grand opening of the SicKids Sensory Space. She presented them with friendship bracelets, which were hand-made by parents of children attending M’Lop Tapang in Cambodia. The sale of each bracelet helps to support street-living and street-working children, young people, and their families, and keep children in school.

During the week Ravy also visited Fairfield General Hospital, Bury, where she met Dr Bratati Bose-Haider, a consultant paediatrician. Bratati was recently awarded a SicKids grant and will travel to Cambodia in November to work alongside Ravy’s team during the opening of our first sensory space in Cambodia. While working with Bratati, Ravy learned about how the NHS assesses disabled children. These skills will assist the clinical team at M’Lop Tapang greatly when our amazing facility opens in a couple of months’ time.

Also while at Bury, Ravy spent time with the child development team, including a children’s physiotherapist, children’s orthoptist, speech and language therapist and a children’s occupational therapist. Practitioners such as these are either non-existent or very rare in Cambodia, and Ravy found learning about the importance of these roles in the development of child health fascinating and insightful.

During her time in the UK, the NHS Expo, an annual conference focused on innovation across all aspects of health and social care, was also being hosted in Manchester. Here Ravy learned about youth participation in the design of healthcare services courtesy of the NHS Youth Forum, supported by Kath Evans.

Tony Long, Professor of child and family health at Salford University, took Ravy to a local primary school to learn how to make research fun for young children to participate in.

And the child sexual exploitation team welcomed Ravy to their hub in Bolton, where she learned about the benefits of having social workers, police officers, youth workers, doctors and nurses working together as a co-ordinated team to identify children at risk of child sexual exploitation, and to work with them on preventative and supportive programs.

Ravy said:

I really appreciate the support of SicKids and the Burdett Trust for Nursing. During my visit to the UK I’ve learned a lot, and had so many experiences that I could not have in Cambodia. It has given me many ideas which I look forward to sharing with my colleagues at M’Lop Tapang to further enhance our work caring for vulnerable children and young people.

Thanks to Ravy for her enthusiasm, hard work and commitment during her outreach visit.

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