DMDP has hired Nhim Dararith to work as a Laboratory Quality Management Systems mentor to work in the laboratory at the Takeo Provincial Hospital, with the agreement of Dr. Khiev Samos, the Director of the Takeo Provincial Hospital. Dararith has a degree from the University of Health Sciences School of Pharmacy. In addition, he has completed the three year course in Medical Biology and received a Diploma in Special Studies. Although his focus will be in the diagnostic microbiology laboratory, he will also assist Ph. Seang Sorsophea, the laboratory chief in other areas of the laboratory. The Ph. designates Nhim Dararith and Seang Sorsophea as pharmacists, graduates of the School of Pharmacy. Dararith received some training in diagnostic microbiology from Angelo Caon who served in the Takeo hospital microbiology laboratory for 18 months. Dararith will be expected to train other staff in microbiology and laboratory quality assurance. In the photo below, I am welcoming Dararith to DMDP just after he signed his employment agreement.
The Board of Directors of the Diagnostic Microbiology Development Program extends its sincere condolences to the people of Cambodia on the loss of their King Father Norodom Sihanouk. To pay my respects to the King, I joined the large crowds at the Independence Monument grieving King Norodom Sihanouk on the day his body was returned to Phnom Penh. I also participated with the people praying along with 10,000 Buddhist monks in front of the Royal Palace on the last day of public mourning. Many photos of the King Father are on display throughout Phnom Penh. This large image is on display in Wat Lanka.
Dr. Bob Martin has recently been awarded a Lifetime Achievement award from the Association of Public Health Laboratories.
This award recognizes individuals with a distinguished history of service to APHL. It is presented to those who have made significant contributions to the advancement of public health laboratory science or practice, exhibited leadership in the field of public health, or positively influenced public health policy on a national or global level. You may read the whole story here.
We are fortunate to have Dr. Martin serving on the DMDP Board of Directors and sharing his expertise and insights on building diagnostic microbiology laboratory capacity.
Ph. Nhem Somary is the director of the Kampong Cham Laboratory. Somary is seen here standing in front of the laboratory building under construction with the support of MSF France, which has a large TB treatment program at the KC Provincial Hospital. MSF also operates the diagnostic TB laboratory in the hospital and the ground floor of the new building is mainly devoted to TB diagnosis and drug susceptibility testing. Although the new bacteriology lab portion of the building is smaller than Somary’s present lab, an advantage is that MSF will install a large generator to which the bacteriology lab, also on the ground floor, will also be connected. An erratic power supply is an ongoing problem in the lab at this time. The ground floor of the new building will be ready for occupancy at the beginning of October. Read about the TB work of MSF in the KC Provincial Hospital at http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=5112&cat=field-news
Streptococcus suisis an emerging pathogen which causes a variety of infections in humans, meningitis is the most common. Although the organism is sensitive to penicillin and can be used to treat meningitis, hearing loss is seen in over 60% of treated meningitis cases at discharge from the hospital. The microbiology laboratory in the Takeo Provincial Hospital has isolated Strep. suis from 14 patients with meningitis. All of these isolates have been MLST typed by the NAMRU 2 laboratory in Phnom Penh. All are the same MLST type and match the most common type seen in Vietnam. Although infections with this bacteria have been reported extensively from Vietnam and Thailand, they have not before been reported from Cambodia. The organism is common in pigs, hence the name, and infection in humans may result from handling contaminated pork. Angelo Caon provided this Gram stain image of the Gram positive cocci in a spinal fluid of a patient with meningitis.
A literature review Streptococcus suis: An emerging pathogen by H.F.L. Wertheim et al can be found in Clinical Infectious Diseases (2009) 48(5):617-625
Thursday, April 26, 2012 was, in fact, an historic day in the Takeo PH Microbiology Lab for several reasons. Since beginning to accept specimens in March of 2011, the lab has received 1000 specimens, a real milestone. In recognition of that milestone, the Director and Deputy Directors of the hospital hosted a dinner at a local restaurant. At the dinner, Dr. Khiev Samros, the hospital director, said that the Takeo Microbiology Laboratory is envied by other provincial hospitals and he acknowledged the support of the many people who have contributed to bringing the lab to its present level.
The volume of specimens received in the microbiology lab is due to several factors. For one, it reflects the trust that the physicians in the hospital place on the laboratory results and they recognize the contribution of those results to individual patient treatment. The quantity of specimens received is also due, without doubt, to the excellent relationships developed between the hospital clinicians and laboratory staff, including the laboratory chief, Ph. Seang Sosorphea, and Ph. Nhim Dararith, who is doing an internship in microbiology, supported by the Merieux Foundation
Finally, and very importantly, the lab is supported by Dr. Khiev Samros, the hospital director, and Dr. Te Vantha, Deputy Hospital Director and Chief of Pediatrics, and Dr. Mam Mony, Deputy Hospital Director. The support of the hospital administration is essential to the development of the laboratory.
L-R: Dr. Mam Mony, Dr. Khiev Samros, Angelo Caon, Jim McLaughlin, Dr. Te Vantha
Last Thursday, April 26, 2012, was an historic day in the microbiology lab at the Takeo Provincial Hospital. A styrofoam cold box arrived, by bus, from the National Institutes of Public Health Lab in Phnom Penh. The box contained the first external quality assurance (EQA) specimens sent to a microbiology lab in Cambodia. Ever. There were three slants with organisms in the box and the lab is required to identify them and send in the results within 10 days. Each specimen came with a short description of the symptoms of the patient from whom the organisms were isolated. This initiative was supported by the World Health Organization. Specimens were sent to five Cambodian microbiology laboratories in this first round. It is essential that a laboratory receive EQA specimens on a regular basis to challenge the capacity of the microbiologists to correctly identify bacteria and parasites.
After receiving the cold box in the lab, Angelo Caon, a VIDA volunteer microbiologist, and Ph. Seang Sosorphea, chief of the laboratory, examine the three specimens and associated paperwork.