Midwives going to Cambodia(1)

July 14, 2014

Cambodia Blog (1)  13/07/14


So it appears I am really going. I have an itinerary for my flights.  I leave for Phnom Penh via Bangkok on 3rd January 2015

I have a lot of emotions now running through my mind not least a bit of fear, a great deal of excitement and an enormous sense of pride.

I know that may sound a little weird, but actually pride is what I felt for the number of midwives who were present at the meeting in London on Friday 11th July 2014.


There was a great deal of sharing about the three countries currently twinned; Uganda, Nepal and Cambodia. It was fantastic and surreal to hear the stories of other midwives who had already been out to these countries. What they had shared with the country midwives whilst there and of course what they had brought home.They had all either been or were soon on their way as part of the Royal College of  Midwives Global Midwifery Twinning  project.


I met the lucky midwives who are soon to leave in September and I felt  very happy and honoured to meet the two other midwives who will come with me to  Cambodia. As we are Twiinned, but there are three of us, Paula, Pippa and me Helen, I immediately labelled us the  Cambodian Triplets. It just seemed to fit. Sad our initials spell out Post-Partum Haemorrhage. Ha Ha


I am of course scared at the prospect of leaving my comfy home to live in a hotel that I am reassured is very nice, but it still will not be my bed. I am more calm than I was, to know I will not be on a rush mat in the middle of nowhere with no toilet at all.  I would have done that but pleased it may not be required.  But the food is still a mystery and we had lots of conversation about food poisoning and diarrhoea relief.

The excitement is incredible at the prospect of seeing a completely different maternity system. I have been to work in another country before where I knew no language at all. I believe midwives and women share another language, especially during birth, that transcends spoken words.  But I am looking forward to meeting the Cambodian midwives and women and trying out my rudimentary Khmer.

I am proud that the RCM have chosen my fellow triplets and I, to go to Cambodia and share some excellent maternity knowledge and skills. I am desperate to know what the Local Midwifery Association wants from us and eager to plan to take what they need with us. It did dawn on me in a big way that we are ambassadors for excellent midwifery care, not dictators of how we think health care should be in their country.

It is really important to me that we do not come across as trying to import so called “excellent” western medicine, when I know in my heart from experience and education that western medicine is not all that it is cracked up to be.  “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, has always been a personal motto.

I cannot wait to work with the women and their families and the midwives who care for them.  I want to understand their challenges and how they have overcome them. I want to try to understand how they have improved care to reduce local maternal and infant mortality. I want to share the knowledge and skills I have, in any way they need.

A month is a very small time to accomplish anything but luckily the Triplets will be carrying on work already started by others. I say thank you to them here for their part in our journey.

Cambodia is a fascinating country with an incredible past. If this Midwifery Twinning Project can help in any way to put the care of mothers and their babies right at the heart of their future health policy, it will indeed have been worth it.


My current kit list. Feel free to offer additions. Need all the help I can get.

Modest simple lightweight clothes to protect from sun and mosquitos

Take scrubs for birth rooms

Mosquito Net

Essential oils – Tee tree

DEET (Yes we seem concerned about the Mozzies. So am I!.)

First aid kit for me, including sterile cannula.

Medicine – antihistamine, anti-diarrhohea, Diuralyte,

Photos of my family and my current unit

Money – local cash

Tablet computer

Anti mosquito – plug in

Wet wipes, alcohol gel

Camera, cheap mobile phone, Mobile charger

Cereal Bars

Resources on laptop/tablet/data key

Several Universal power adapters

Hand held electric fan

Prezzies for local midwives/people we meet

Tiger Balm – Mosquito bites.

Receipt book, GMPT paperwork

Books, own music/tablet or MP3



Thank you to Joy Kemp, Louise Silverton, Jacqui Gerrard, and the Twinning Midwives who presented on 11th July.  By the way it was a birthday I am unlikely to forget.


I intend to blog at least monthly for the run up to the departure and daily whilst there. Wi Fi access permitting.

Please join the journey.  Think it will be quite a ride.







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