Quarterly Review 1 – 2020

(January, February and March 2020)

Corona Virus and MoPoTsyo: During the 1st quarter of 2020, the services have continued. People with diabetes and hypertension are extra vulnerable to COVID19. We will try to help them keep good control of blood sugar and blood pressure but also prevent transmission of COVID19. We introduced strict hygiene at our office, including for 7 candidates-trainee peer educators. These 7 candidate PE were the only guests at the guesthouse close to our office. We have begun to supply PE with DIY (Do it yourself) alcohol-based handrub 60 – 80%, following WHO recommendations. Our IT has created IT solution to work at home for our accountants. We have ordered self-made cotton masks for our employees and PE’s to be produced for distribution. Cambodia’s government has prepared an emergency law that is yet to be approved by Parliament and signed off. Once in force, the emergency law will allow the central government to impose lockdowns and take other measures that it considers necessary to control the epidemic, intervene in supply systems and markets and maintain law and order. As there are not many tests carried out, the disease could be moving under the radar. So far, Cambodia reports no deaths due to that virus but more than 100 confirmed cases, but only 1 critical and most gradually recovering. We have to spend more on alcohol, masks and gloves as prices have gone up.

Supply chain: Our Chinese suppliers of Blood Glucose Strips and Urine Glucose strips may experience longer delivery time. Our seafreight arrived at Sihanoukville instead of Phnom Penh. Also worldwide shortages have been predicted because many API (basic chemicals) are produced in China. Our Dutch supplier is preparing our sea-freight to leave Europe in June but it is not yet complete. Uncertainty surrounds the supply system at this moments. Disruptions in the supply line are a very big worry as long as COVID19 spreads. It could hit MoPoTsyo as well including our laboratory service.

Training of new Peer Educators: we trained 7 new Peer Educators, from Svay Teap, Romeas Hek, Baray Santuk and Posenchey both in Phnom Penh and in Kampong Speu.

Expansion negotiations: We held meetings with new OD’s to agree on future expansion. We have these talks now so we can prepare the next Memorandum of Agreement with the Ministry of Health (2021-2024). We let interested health authorities visit existing programs in other OD’s to talk with colleagues and decide whether they want to copy it to their own district. The interested ones so far are: Svay Teap OD, Svay Chrum OD, Ksach Kandal OD, Boribo, Kampong Trach in Kampong Chhnang, Krouch Chhmar in Tboung Khmum, and also OD’s in Phnom Penh where Peer Educators are already active.

Takeo: In order to discuss our re-engagement in Takeo, we visited all other OD’s one by one. Most are interested to relaunch full cooperation based our latest intervention model that is now functional in Daunkeo OD at Health Center Roka Khnong.

Partnerships and working with others:

CSC: I gave a presentation at Children Surgical Centre (Khean Khleang) led by orthopedic surgeon Dr Jim Colloghy. He also has a private clinic Chenda (near Wat Phnom) which does free screening of new diabetic patients for Diabetic Retinopathy and follow-up.

Secretariat of the National Council on Social Protection: In February a meeting (located at Ministry of Economy and Finance), together with ITM and NIPH to present slides with key messages: 1) bring care close to people, instead of a few sophisticated clinics, 2) ensure easy access to routine medication, 3) peer educators are essential as well as 4) monitoring “outcome indicators”, not just utilization indicators.

e-Health: The UNDP through UNOPS has been facilitating a contact with China for Diabetes Management. As a result, a Chinese group interested business people around a company called Kangwei who own a specialized software for diabetes care management which they license to Chinese hospitals, came to Cambodia in early January. It could be interesting perhaps for Provincial Hospitals in Cambodia to use it in the future.

CINAC: A meeting was held at National Institute of Public Health on CINAC (Chronic Interstitial Nephritis in Agricultural Communities) with provincial health directors to sensitize them to the issue of pesticides because they may be responsible for kidney failures in Cambodia, like also in other countries, but remain undiagnosed. There is a cooperation between NIPH, Center of Hope, ITM on this. MoPoTsyo’s data on diabetics interest them also because they think that diabetics are perhaps even more vulnerable than non-diabetics. But it will be difficult to prove.

KOFIH visited MoPoTsyo to discuss if and how to duplicate our model to Battambang province. PMCI and local NGO CSCP are also interested in our model of working. We will facilitate so they can copy.
Cambodian NCD Alliance one full-day workshop in February 2020 to make strategic planning.
Louvain Cooperation organized a stakeholder workshop for full day also in February.

MoPoTsyo Fees: We have distributed new posters to publish our fees for 2020, with lower prices of lab services and including prices that were charged by peer educators but previously not mentioned, such as follow up measurement, and registration fees.
Förderverein Schweiz MoPoTsyo (our donor in Switzerland): My visit had long been planned and took place just before COVID19 began to show its ugly face in European countries. Despite originating from the Low Lands, I was able to give a 30 minute presentation in High German language in the Hospital in Olten (in the kanton Solothurn in Switzerland) about our work to the friendly invitees attending the yearly meeting of FSM (Förderverein Schweiz MoPoTsyo). We received again USd 60,000 for this year 2020. This foundation has been set up by Dr Madeleine Straumann, retired Swiss Diabetologist who is very committed to help MoPoTsyo. I stayed at their home for several days and they and her friends very warmly hosted me. We are extremely lucky to have their support especially now in these very turbulent times.

Annual external Financial Audit 2019 started early, on January 15th, and was completed without problems. We are ready to submit the profit tax exemption application at Ministry of Economy and Finance. We are late, sorry…

Maurits van Pelt, Director

April 15th, 2020                  

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