How we began:
Rose Cambodia Rehabilitation Centre (RCRC) was established in April 2010 to provide physiotherapy services for the hospital and the community, and less than a year later, in March 2011 we became formally registered as a local Cambodian non-governmental organisation (NGO) with the Ministry of Interior.
We started out as a project of Rose Charities Australia, and we continue to be supported by Rose Charities Australia and the Rose International network, whilst remaining a Cambodian NGO working within the government health service at Chey Chumneas Referral Hospital, Takhmao.
Initially established as a response to a locally-identified need for physical rehabilitation following surgery, we worked alongside an earlier Rose Charities project: Operation First Cambodia. However, while we were establishing RCRC, the true extent of the need for physiotherapy services became apparent and our programs have now evolved to be a broader clinical services and training approach. We now focus not only on surgical service provision, but on physiotherapy skills training, disability awareness and prevention, physical rehabilitation, education and research, both within the hospital and in the community.
In the long-term it is important for sustainability and independence that there is government responsibility for locally-provided health care and rehabilitation services. This is why we are based within the local government Chey Chumneas Referral Hospital in Takhmao. We not only provide physiotherapy services for the hospital, but educate hospital staff in the benefits of physiotherapy and quality medical care to prevent disability. In this way we hope our work leads to improvements in the standard of care, as well as encouraging government health services to establish physiotherapy as one of the services it provides to patients.
While there is physiotherapy training available in Cambodia in the form of a diploma, it is not yet a comprehensive course. There are currently only just over 300 ‘qualified’ physiotherapists – extremely low for a population of over 14 million people – highlighting the poorly understood value of the profession. In this context it is understandable that many physiotherapists are not able to gain work in physiotherapy positions after graduating, often finding themselves working in hospitals as nurses or other medical assistants.
While progress can seem slow at times, we are positive that our dedication towards recognising the Rights for People with Disabilities, teaching and encouraging the equitable provision of high quality health and rehabilitation services, will see long term changes in attitudes and expectations of Cambodians and a better quality of life for all.
Physiotherapy can make a difference in an individual’s ability to lead an active healthy lifestyle. For many children and adults with a physical disability, physiotherapy is the key to restoring and maintaining a level of function that permits independent living.
Physiotherapy benefits include:
- Decreasing pain
- Increasing joint mobility
- Increasing strength and coordination
- Improving balance
- Improved cardio-respiratory function
- Maximising independent physical function and quality of life