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Cambodian nurse
A Cambodian nurse prepares a blood sample for analysis. Eli Meixler

Japanese clinic staffs specialized doctors

When a group of four Japanese doctors banded together to establish Sun International Clinic in Phnom Penh their aim was to provide quality and cost effective treatment so that Cambodians and resident expats would not have to travel overseas to receive specialized care.

Launched last April, the clinic boasts a roster of veteran Japanese doctors and surgeons whose specialties include internal medicine, orthopedics, gynecology and otolaryngology (ENT). The clinic plans on adding a pediatrician and an endocrinologist who would focus on diabetes.

surgery room
Surgery room Eli Meixler

Staffed with three Japanese nurses, three Cambodian nurses and two additional part-time Cambodian doctors, Sun International Clinic has installed state-of-the-art medical technology in their consulting rooms, surgical facilities and laboratory to provide the most accurate diagnostics.

For instance, their X-ray machine can immediately send data to the affiliated hospitals in Japan, allowing the doctors to confer on a proper course of treatment.

Dr Nobuo Kubo is the resident ENT specialist who focuses on nose and throat diseases like asthma, sinus infections, and sleep apnea. To relieve these ailments, he performs endoscopic consultations and surgeries.

“For nose, throat and sinus diseases, when we talk about endoscopic surgery, Japanese doctors have advantages compared to many other countries because endoscope technology has been perfected in Japan,” Dr Kubo said.

Endoscopic surgery of the nasal cavities involves using a small camera and laser attached to a tube that is then displayed on a video monitor, allowing both the doctor and the patient to see what is happening. For this procedure, the patient is usually under a mild general anesthetic, explained Dr Kubo, adding this “allows for the patients to go home the same day of the procedure, or to spend the night at our clinic to recuperate.”

Japanese nurses
One of the three Japanese nurses at Sun Clinic updating data in a patient’s file. Eli Meixler

“Also the medical system and techniques we provide are very patient friendly, noninvasive, and provide a high cost performance compared to the US and medical industries in [neighboring] countries,” he said. Dr Kubo has performed over 4000 surgeries of this kind across Japan, Malaysia, the United States and now Cambodia.

Dr Kubo said that he has been invited to perform in many hospitals, but decided on Cambodia because the medical industry “is very new and developing. And I want to provide an opportunity to train Cambodian doctors so that they can perform my procedure here.”

Another reason for opening a clinic in Phnom Penh was due to the upcoming ASEAN integration, which he believes will bring in an influx of doctors from neighboring countries like Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand.

State-of-the-art endoscope
State-of-the-art endoscope Eli Meixler

Dr Kubo predicts that this could turn Phnom Penh into the next destination for medical tourism with sophisticated world-class care. But what personally drove him and his group of doctors to Cambodia is what he foresees as the rising demand for specialized services coming from the growing middle class and young forward-thinking population.

Because of Japan’s older demographics, Dr Kubo explained how the practitioners at Sun International Clinic can provide knowledge and education especially about the need for preventive care.

“In Japan people live until they are very old, especially the women who usually live well into their nineties. In Japan patients have more time and money for preventive medicine and it is very important to their daily lives,” he said.

“I really want to educate Cambodians about how important preventive medicine is,” he said before adding that “in Cambodia it is very hard to educate people because they do not fully understand the dangers. Education is very important to me, and it is something I want this clinic to provide.”

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