Life Stories - Chay Goes To A Health Camp

Chay, 76 years old. Chay lives in a remote village in Northwest Cambodia. It is located several kilometers away from the nearest local health centre.

“In our community, older people lacked understanding about primary health care. Poor hygiene and sanitation practices were major issues in our community. When the older people became sick, they always bought any medication out of habit and often used traditional medicine.”

Aging increases the likelihood of developing non-communicable diseases and chronic illnesses that negatively impact the well-being and physical mobility of older people.Poor hygiene and sanitation practices can also lead to severe diarrhea and other complications that exacerbate the health conditions of older people.Last year, HelpAge with the support from KOICA, in partnership with Older People Associations (OPAs), began conducting monthly outreach health camps on preventative health education in villages like Chay’s.  The outreach health camps are conducted by local health center staff with the support of volunteer health workers, who implement community-based health activities.

Chay has noticed a remarkable difference in the well-being of older people as a result of the outreach health camps in her village:

“At the health camp, there are exercises, counseling support, and question and answer sessions. When an older person is sick and cannot attend the health camp, they receive a home visit by the local health center staff. Older people now have more understanding about their health. After the health camp, we share the information with our children and grandchildren so that they will know how to look after and care for us.”

The OPAs also provides additional support to the frail and sick.  Through OPA work, the Health Centers now provides treatment at a reduced fee for older people.  And, should an older person have a serious illness, the OPA can arrange transport to the nearest Health Center.