Cambodian Children in the Mekong RiverTHE SOK SABAY CLINIC was built in 2005 to provide health care and a sanitary environment for pregnant woman in a rural village 45 miles east of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. With the vision of its founder, Dr. Mary Anne Herron, the Clinic was developed in response to the overwhelming infant mortality rate of babies born at home in unsanitary conditions with the majority in the care of a mid-wife with scissors, thread, and a candle.

With no health care services available for the 100,000 people living in the 15 communes and 43 villages that make up the Lvea Em District, the Clinic immediately grew. Within four months after its opening, the clinic had a patient load of over 2,000 per month.

The majority of the residents of this district drink the dirty river bordering on the Lvea Em communities because they have no access to clean water. Although twenty-three percent boil the water, the remaining population drinks the water directly from the river. Due to the lack of clean water, the residents suffer from major infectious diseases — diseases like bacterial and protozoa diarrhea, hepatitis, typhoid fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria. The incidence of HIV is 8 percent.

Today, the original six-room Sok Sabay Clinic and addition is staffed by three full-time nurses, a mid-wife, six intake assistants an office manager, a cleaner, a security guard, and a cook for the staff. The new addition built in 2008 includes a mother’s ward with seven beds, a delivery room, and a space for women whose birth of a new baby is eminent.

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