Phnom Penh

Training in ophthalmology at the University of Phnom Penh came into being with financial support from the Eye Care Foundation. The training of ophthalmic personnel is one of the key points of the Eye Care Foundation. This way, we support sustainable and good eye care in the project countries. Twice a year, the Eye Care Foundation sends a specialist to the Ophthalmology Residency Training (ORT) Centre to share specific knowledge and educate in the field of eye care in Cambodia.

Prof Dr. Aniki Rothova talks about her experiences:

Prof Dr. Aniki Rothova travelled for the Eye Care Foundation (ECF) to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She was there for a period of one week (31.10.2015 to 06.11.2015) to teach ophthalmologists in training. Twice a year the ECF sent an expert from the Netherlands to the Ophthalmology Residency Training (ORT) center to share their specific knowledge and thus contribute to expanding knowledge in the field of eye care in Cambodia. Prof Dr. Aniki Rothova is a specialist in the field of uveitis, an inflammation of the uvea.

It was a good and meaningful experience, the knowledge about uveitis which was passed on is certainly applicable. She found teaching very inspiring.

Prof Dr. Aniki Rothova strives to encourage creative thinking of her students. In Cambodia, knowledge is taught by remembering facts and less creative thinking. During the lessons she has therefore tried to stimulate her students to think for themselves and to dare to speak their mind. She saw in the course of the week how the character of the students developed and how they enjoyed finding  less common solutions for patients and their problems. Among the students were some who were very motivated to do an internship abroad and in doing so, bring more knowledge and skills back to Cambodia.

In her classes, Prof Dr. Aniki Rothova compares the ideal situation to reality. The ideal is what you should do, according to the books, and what you can achieve here in Phnom Penh, in the current (limited) situation, with limited medicine, in reality. Without complicated technology and with little money, you can often help people. What is needed is that students learn to make the translation from theoretical knowledge to practical execution in Cambodia. The Eye Care Foundation support for the ORT project is very important because without this support, ORT is not viable.

It was for Prof. Dr. Aniki Rothova her first time in Cambodia. She had read a lot about the Khmer Rouge, and had some experience in other countries in South east Asia. But in Cambodia she experienced what it means for a country where a generation of teachers was gone. You can feel it, she said. The younger generation wants to move on. French expats who had left a troubled Europe call it a booming country, where you can find your place.

Cambodia is impressive. Prof Dr. Aniki Rothova worked long days during her week’s stay and only had one day off.  Upon arrival, she went sightseeing in Phnom Penh. She rented a bike and cycled through Phnom Penh, crossed the river that runs through the city on a ferry and visited the old prison. She was particularly impressed by the people of Cambodia, especially the older generation.