These days, the number of people with diabetes is rising rapidly in Cambodia and all around the world . This has prompted many to organise talks and forums on social media regarding the ways to prevent and treat diabetes itself.
Diabetes is a catastrophic chronic disease without a cure or definite treatment by doctors. Nevertheless, doctors advise that, ‘each individual is someone who can prevent and treat the disease by themselves’ and the question remains, why is that?
Even if diabetes is not a communicable disease, its risks have taken the lives of millions. What is alarming is that that number keeps increasing every day all over the world – rising from 108 million people in 1980 to 422 million in 2014, according to a report in the World Health organisation (WHO) website.
“The manifestation of diabetes is presented in many different forms, and it can happen to any individual. It can be congenital and it can also stem from a couple of habits such as, eating inappropriate items , lack of exercise and not checking up often enough,” said Dr. Chuon Kim Cheng, chief of the general medicine department at the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope (SHCH).
Dr Chuon explained that, there are many reasons for diabetes. However, the three most common types in the majority of Cambodians are: 1. individuals who lack the capacity to produce enough insulin for the body , 2. Due to genetic reasons and 3. the most common type is diabetes that stems from the lifestyle of individuals.
This third type is the most common one, however , individuals can avoid the disease and can be ‘the saver of their own life’, according Dr. Chuon.
Soung Phalla, 60 years old, a farmer in Bati district, Takeo province, said that, “I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2015. My kids tried to take me to various private and state hospitals in Phnom Penh but it did not help. Up until 2017, when the kids ran out of moeny, they tried taking me to the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope.”
Phalla continued, “Luckily, Hope Center is willing to treat poor patients like me. If not for the talented and attentive doctors at Hope hospital who take the utmost care of patients and provide needed medicines, I don’t know what would happen to me, as they told me my sugar level had gone up to critical levels.”
She continued that, “After receiving the treatment and regular pills given from Samdech Ov Hospital for about one year, my skin now looks fresher, while my blood sugar level has also decreased substantially. When the blood sugar is low like this, I feel more energetic to go to pagodas with other places. Now, I have hope for the future.”
Dr. Chuon explained, “I always explain to my diabetic patients that the treatment of diabetes does not depend on the doctors. The role of the doctor is only to provide the necessary information and advice. The most effective doctor for diabetes is the patients themselves if they can follow doctor’s orders as closely as possible.”
At the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope, there’s a team of doctors who advise and consult with patients, as well as organise events for diabetic patients to share information on how to successfully lower the blood-sugar level, and why some people cannot lower their blood-sugar level and how to change that. “By doing so, diabetic patients can understand clearly how to manage the situation themselves ,” said Dr. Chuon
He explained, “when the patients clearly understand and they can adhere closely to doctor’s orders, such as taking medicines correctly, follow the diet plan, and exercise, the treatment will be successful. For example, diabetic patients cannot overeat, they have to eat little few times a day and adopt the habit of exercising regularly.
About Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE
Many years after the establishment of Sihanouk Hospital Centre of HOPE (SHCH) in 1996, the hospital still depends on charity from overseas, but these donations have reduced since 2008.
However, this hospital serves all needy people, with priority for patients from around the country who hold the ‘Equity Card’. For some cases, the hospital requires verification or confirmation from the local authorities where the patients live because almost every treatment service including surgery and medications is funded by international donors.
Therefore, the hospital does not require the poor citizens to pay for their medical bills. Even though the hospital has not received much donation since 2008, they are still trying to provide the best and professional medical and treatment services to Cambodians.
From January 2018 till now, SHCH treated 1490 diabetes patients.