"What can we Cambodians do for our nation?” This is what a Cambodian-American man asked himself after completing his PhD degree in the United States.
Mr. Chea Vireak received education in United States since the age of 13.
He has obtained his bachelor's degree in biology and a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences at the Pacific University in Oregon in 2009.
With the desire to use his knowledge he has learnt to help his home country. He also returned to Cambodia because his parents still live here. When Mr. Vireak had returned to Cambodia he established a pharmacy called “Western” in 2013 which is located in front of Baktouk High school.
The purpose to open this pharmacy, he explained, is to have an acceptable pharmacy standard.
“Standards of a pharmacy do not only refer to a clean room, air conditioning and other basics, but also refer to services, etc,” he explained.
“We require a valid degree even for regular pharmacist. My standard for new staff is to provide them at least one month training before they start to serve customers. They need to provide consulting services to customers no matter how busy they are even with customers who do not buy the medicine.” he said.
Mr. Vireak said what’s more important is the new data storage service. “When new customers arrive we ask for their names, date of birth, and phone number and if they have allergies with any type of drugs so we can have their data in our database for future service”.
“The data storage can prevent that when a customer comes back and deals with different staff who might give them a different drug. With the computer system we can see the customers’ drug records and what they had bought from us before” he explained the benefit of the service.
“I learnt with them since the beginning till the end from cashier to pharmacist, they also taught me how to check, manage and be a trainer in the field” he recalled.
Mr. Ly Seng, 53, who is a customer of this new pharmacy, said: “I have bought medicine from this pharmacy since they just opened. Before that I usually bought pharmaceuticals from Vietnam but now I can buy vitamins and other types of medicine here and it has been 6 months since I stopped buying the medicine from Vietnam”.
About his goals Mr. Vireak said: “In the future I hope all pharmacies can maintain high standards and sell good medicine, not the fake one, so customers don’t need to travel all the way to Singapore or Thailand which cost a lot of money and time.
Sometimes when they go there they don’t really understand what the doctors said because most of the medical terms the doctor use are in English”.