Danish pharmacist enables students to train and practice pharmacology in his homeland
Two Khmer students have been given the opportunity to pursue pharmacology studies in Denmark, thanks to the assistance of Dr Peter Kielgast.
The doctor, a native of the northern European country, is sponsoring students Him Narorn and Lim Lyna, from Kampong Cham and Siem Reap, respectively.
The pair arrived in Denmark earlier this month to enrol in a one-year language course. Afterward, they will start a three-year bachelor’s in pharmacy programme at Pharmakon Danish College of Pharmacy Practice, in the city of Hillerod, north of Copenhagen.
The sponsorship includes accommodation, tuition, and a monthly allowance for food and transportation amounting to US$20,000 per student per year.
Kielgast, owner of the Taastrup pharmacy group and former president of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (IPF), has been working with Cambodians for several years.
His relationship with Cambodia started five years ago when he met Cambodia’s former health minister, Nuth Sokhom, at a meeting in Geneva. Nuth Sokhom was the one who convinced him to examine the health situation in Cambodia.
“I established a dialogue which later resulted in having me serve as adviser to the Pharmaceutical Association of Cambodia. This led to a number of working visits to Cambodia,” explained Kielgast.
Around the same time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggested that a degree in pharmacology that took less than five years to complete should be introduced to countries that were understaffed in pharmacists.
Since such a programme had not yet been implemented in Cambodia, the doctor decided to personally finance qualified students who wished to study overseas in his native country. Good command of the English language was an essential qualification for the sponsporship.
In the Paul Dubrule School of Hotel and Tourism in Siem Reap, Kielgast discovered an abundance of bright and outstanding students that he felt deserving of consideration for a scholarship.
“I discovered that students who graduated from this school not only had a good knowledge of English but were also knowledgeable about service and management, which is essential in good pharmacy practice. So the first students I decided to sponsor were recruited were recent graduates from that school,” he explained.
“I decided this year to offer the education to a few students as part of my commitment to help develop pharmacy practice in Cambodia,” he added.
The students were selected in June this year and were accompanied to Denmark by the doctor himself since it was their first time traveling overseas.
Him Naroron, 24, who graduated from the hotel and tourism school in 2006 and has worked in various positions in hotels in Siem Reap, said he has learned some Danish words since his arrival.
“The weather, food and people are different from Cambodia,” he said of adapting to his new home. “In the first few days it seemed a little difficult. But it is not a [big] matter for me to adapt and practice my professional life here.”
Lim Lyna, who graduated from the Paul Dubrule School earlier this year, was the other recipient.
“I have adjusted my new life in Denmark because Mr Peter Kielgast has provided a lot of things for both of us. Thus, it has made our life in Denmark very comfortable,” he said. He said he was grateful to the doctor for his funding and support.
Upon the completion of their studies, both students would like to continue their training in Denmark and ultimately return to Cambodia to work, ideally establishing their own pharmacy, they said.