Betsy Chafcouloff, STC co-founder recalls:
“I remember so clearly that day almost ten years ago in January 2014 when I first walked into a Cambodian public hospital, clutching my invitation from the vice-director of the hospital and the newly minted documentation for the non-profit Speech Therapy Cambodia. Our first dysphagia training for four Cambodian medical professionals started two days later!
“I knew that dysphagia services did not exist in Cambodia, but I also saw that Cambodians with swallowing impairments after stroke were much like their counterparts all over the world. What I didn’t understand was how vastly different hospital systems were in Cambodia. Over the years, we would need to address hospital infrastructures in order to establish viable dysphagia services. To do that, we would also need government involvement.
“STC pursued dysphagia education in three of Phnom Penh’s largest public hospitals. With the support of our dedicated SSTC staff, skilled SLP volunteers, and generous donors, we created trainings and clinical supervision for medical professionals and worked with hospital officials to begin to incorporate dysphagia services into hospital systems.”
Here are some of the things that STC accomplished during these years:
- Served over 8,000 Cambodian hospital patients with dysphagia, by training of Cambodian health professionals in techniques for screening, evaluating, and treating patients with swallowing difficulties
- Supported teams of volunteer speech-language therapists to train and supervise Cambodian clinicians
- Established the Cambodian NGO, Speech and Swallowing Therapy Cambodia (SSTC), funded by STC
- Funded four long-term full-time speech language pathologists (SLP) trainers from the US, the UK, Colombia and France
- Signed MOUs with the Cambodian Ministry of the Interior and the Cambodian Ministry of Health
- Spread awareness of dysphagia across Cambodia through social media and speaking engagements