February 14, 2017

Cambodia TB Field Visit

Operation Asha is a non-profit NGO founded in 2005 by two Indian nationals – Dr Shelly Batra and Mr Sandeep Ahuja – with the primary aim of bringing “TB treatment to disadvantaged communities”. Its headquarters are in India, although the NGO also operates in Cambodia and USA (the latter mainly fundraising and research).


A small street sign indicating Operation Asha’s headquarters in Phnom Penh


Operation Asha is located on a small side street…


…in a fairly nondescript building

I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in a field visit in Phnom Penh yesterday morning courtesy of Ms Jacqueline Chen, Operation Asha’s country director in Cambodia. Ms Chen is actually Singaporean, one among a very rare few that not only choose to work abroad, but to do challenging (in all senses of the word) work that directly benefits some of the most disadvantaged people in our region – this article in Singapore International Foundation’s magazine describes her and her work better than I can do so.


We stopped by Posenchey Health Center, which is a health facility that also houses a regional hospital


The TB ward within the regional hospital – only for the most ill cases.


Administration of directly observed therapy (DOT) by a field supervisor from Operation Asha. In this regard, workers from NGOs and other volunteers serve to extend the official work of CENAT (Cambodia’s National Center for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control) in administering DOT to TB patients all over Cambodia.


The DOT card belonging to the aforementioned patient, used to track compliance. Operation Asha in Cambodia has developed multiple apps that facilitate tracking of the people they serve, but many regions are still paper-based.


A fixed formulation TB pill (4 drugs in 1 capsule) made by Lupin Ltd, one of the largest generic manufacturers in India.


Children playing along a side street


An obligatory photo op with a TB patient who receives DOT courtesy of the Operation Asha field team.

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Public Health, Tuberculosis


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