HAC has a strong focus on health and actively runs Health Camps in a number of villages. Health Camps are a one-day healthcare outreach service for Older People’s Associations. Health camps provide both a basic health checkup and education on disease prevention.
Common health issues that older people experience include hypertension, joint pain, muscle pain, diabetes, visual impairments, stroke and stomach aches. In Cambodia, older men and women often do not utilise local health center facilities due to factors that include distance and expense. Older people usually prefer to receive home visits from a local paetchhnoul practicing traditional medicine.
In the last two years, HAC have conducted over 400 health camps across 80 villages in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces. Each OPA administers the health camp in their village, facilitated by local commune health center staff and village health support group volunteers.
At the health camp older people learn about preventative health topics that address non-communicable diseases commonly experienced by older people, such as hypertension, cancers, diabetes and arthritis. The community members have their blood pressure checked and receive medication and vitamins. In the afternoon, the health center staff conduct private consultations at the homes of frail and sick older people.
Health camps promote active and healthy ageing for all older people and their households. Community members feel confident they can take ownership of their health by applying their new knowledge in preventing and treating diseases.
HAC’s Home-based Care programme is an effective and sustainable model for providing care at home for the most vulnerable, sick and frail older people.
Older People’s Associations manage home-based care through a committee of local volunteers. The most sick and frail older people living alone in the community are matched with a local community volunteer to provide domestic and medical assistance through weekly home visits. Over 40 OPAs across Battambang and Banteay Meanchey offer home-based care services to almost 300 older people through 300 local volunteers who are also mostly female.
Home-based care volunteers receive training and ongoing coaching in communication, age- friendly care, nutrition, preventing injuries and hazards, and mental health awareness. Depending on the needs of the older person, home-based care activities can include cooking, cleaning, bathing, washing, grocery shopping, and accompanying to the local pagoda or health centre.
The benefits to older women and men receiving care through the programme include improvements in psychosocial health, well-being and companionship.