A Collaborative for Healthcare Improvement in Cambodia

By Yarat Un, External Relations and CC Manager, PSI Cambodia, Uom Im, EQHA Provincial Quality Improvement Coordinator, PSI Cambodia and Hatha Pich, EQHA Provincial Quality Improvement Coordinator, PSI Cambodia

For Cambodians, quality healthcare can be difficult to access—health centers are often far away from clients’ homes, and providers don’t have the tools they need to effectively screen and treat for common diseases. And in a world turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, access to quality healthcare is more important than ever. 

To change this reality, the Enhancing Quality of Health Care Activity, led by FHI360 in partnership with PSI, Meridian Group International, and the International Training and Education Center for Health at the University of Washington and mClinica, is working with health centers across Cambodia to improve the quality of healthcare for all Cambodians and create trust in the services provided by health centers and referral hospitals. 

One of these referral hospitals is Cheung Prey Referral Hospital, not far from Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh. With the support of EQHA, the hospital took part in the Quality Improvement Collaborative, a guide to enhancing the performance of healthcare systems using evidence-based models derived from improvement science. In this case, the improvement science used was the the Plan, Do, Study, Act approach to enhance the triage of infection, prevention and control (IPC).  

Cheung Prey’s Director of Nursing and Vice Chief of its IPC team, Mr. Mon Nimol, explains the changes the Improvement Plan has introduced: “Since late 2019, the Cheung Prey Referral Hospital has dramatically changed both its environmental and physical infrastructures,” he describes. 

Since the implementation of the Improvement Plan, EQHA has also provided support for the staff to conduct study visits to other hospitals and for staff coaching. The Hospital Director and his team conducted a study visit at Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem ReapBattambang Provincial Hospital and Kampong Cham Provincial Hospital to learn about proper practices for IPC triage and infection control management and receive expert coaching on IPC. Through the study visits, the hospital director and his team came up with several new innovative ideas, particularly regarding infrastructure, to help implement the Improvement Plan more rapidlyTo bring these ideas to fruition, the hospital management team decided to focus the Improvement Plan’s budget on building essential infrastructure items. 

With this new focus, the team was able to implement a laundry list of changes, including: 

  • Installation of a new high-temperature incinerator 
  • Construction of new spacious consultation rooms 
  • Renovation and construction of 20 restrooms 
  • Installation of 22 hand-washing tubs equipped with soap and drying tissue 
  • Painting of the hospital’s exterior wall 
  • Installation of a large television in the waiting area equipped with educational messages 
  • Cementing of the front of the hospital compound 
  • Planting a decorative flower garden 
  • Hanging a map at the front of the hospital to display the location of different services in the hospital 

The Cheung Prey team credits Quality Improvement Collaborative approach and support from the EQHA for the development of its Improvement Plan. The study visits were especially significant and encouraged them to make the physical changes listed above. On the visits, they also learned about best practices to improve the quality of care they provide. The newly reactivated IPC team demonstrated high effectiveness, working tirelessly to improve the physical infrastructures in the hospital.  

The hospital’s clients agree; Cheung Prey Hospital is much improved. Eng Kosal, a 37-year-old patient from the Sragne commune, describes: “The Cheung Prey Hospital now is different from last year,” she recalls. 

“The hospital looks very clean, a lot of new things have been built such as clean restrooms, hand-washing tubs, new consultation rooms and, most importantly, the health care providers are friendlier with patients and caregivers. I am very happy to see the health care providers here in this hospital take good care of patients. 

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