After one year of project implementation, the SCUBY consortium held its second consortium meeting in Seam Reap Province, Cambodia from the 10th to the 14th of February, 2020. The meeting was hosted by the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) in Cambodia and was attended by project partners from University of Antwerp and Institute of Tropical Medicine in Belgium, Community Health Center Ljubljana, Slovenia and the University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.
After an opening session which included welcome words by the head of the Siem Reap Public Health Director, Dr. Kros Sarath and the director of NIPH, Prof. Chhea Chhorvann, the consortium discussed the current progress of the project, shared preliminary findings of each country’s situation analysis and discussed key variables/indicators for additional routine data collection through various presentations by the work packages and country teams. Central to the meeting was a discussion on the roadmap development in each country and the design and questions for the process and outcome evaluation of the SCUBY project.
The meeting provided the platform to learn about the Cambodian health system and strengthened the consortium partnership between the various country teams. Moreover, PhD students, who presented their research plans within the framework of the SCUBY project, were able to benefit from receiving feedback from consortium members.
The meeting ended with a visit to the Public Health facilities at Siem Reap Province on Friday 14th February, hosted by Siem Reap Provincial Health Department. As part of the visit, there was a presentation on Siem Reap Public Health System and field visits to the Siem Reap Provincial Referral Hospital and Chreav Health Center in the city.
On the very same (Valentine’s) day, two stakeholder consultative workshops were also organized in Phnom Penh. At NIPH, Vannarath Te presented his findings from the situation analysis to officials from the Ministry of Health. Discussion ensued about the most important barriers, priorities, and the uptake of a roadmap for the improvement (or scale-up) of diabetes and hypertension care. A second meeting took place at the Ministry of Finance where the SCUBY team as well as Maurits Van Pelt, Executive Director of MoPoTsyo (local NGO), made excellent cases on the importance of NCD in the very new health insurance employee scheme. Specifically, the SCUBY team members advocated for the inclusion of essential NCD medicines in such a scheme. After these two intensely fascinating meetings, both at the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance, we concluded that progress towards more and better care for NCDs seems to be happening at a high speed in Cambodia.
Now, in the aftermath of our successful meeting in Cambodia, it is with great motivation, that consortium members will be working towards the attainment of this year’s deliverables as well as tackling the many challenges as a team.