2018 Cambodia Cardiac Trip – Final Day
When we initially put together the team for our first cardiac trip to Cambodia, we set a goal to screen 350 children. Since congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect in the world, we wanted to make sure that the children in our programs didn’t go undiagnosed.
Over the last several days, our medical team visited four villages plus the slum area of Poipet. We screened 583 children and performed 102 echocardiograms. We are happy to report that all of these wonderful children were found to have healthy hearts!
The doctors were very pleased to know the children in our programs don’t have to worry about unknown heart issues, while admitting they are honestly quite surprised by the results. Normally about 1 child in 95 is found to have a heart defect, so they expected to diagnose several on this trip who would need intervention.
They discussed two possibilities, and we definitely like the first one better. Perhaps since childhood heart defect rates are averages, we simply ended up with 500+ children with the odds all in their favor.
The other possibility they raised however, is that since the majority of children we screened were aged preschool and up, perhaps some of the babies who were born with heart issues didn’t survive to school-age. That is a more sobering theory, but it means we need to make sure that as many infants as possible in the areas where we work get health screens as babies.
We accomplished so much this week which will help us strengthen our rural medical program in this region, including the creation of medical files on all of the children we serve. We also saw so clearly the need for continued nutritional interventions, as chronic malnutrition in children has long-lasting physical and cognitive implications.
To everyone who is sponsoring a child for our education and hot lunch program, we send a huge THANK YOU. The results that we’re seeing are so very positive, and it only happens with your support.
We also send our sincere thanks to the General Hsu Ting-Yao Education Foundation for making this first cardiac project possible. Having access to medical care is such an essential part of improving the lives of vulnerable children.
On behalf of everyone on the medical team from China, the US, and Cambodia – we send our warmest wishes to you all. Here’s to a world where we all work together to ensure that Every Child Counts.