At a glance
- Help doctors and nurses conduct basic health checks during home visits and educational outreaches.
- Encourage people to lead healthier lives and gain plenty of practical experience in the process.
- Support physiotherapists at rehabilitation centres.
- You will be based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s picturesque capital, which you can explore in your free time.
16 or over
Is a Public Health internship in Cambodia right for me?
This project is ideal for anyone looking to pursue a career in healthcare. It’s also great experience for students interested in studying medicine.
As a Public Health intern in Cambodia, you’ll gain gain hands-on experience doing basic health checks . You’ll work alongside medical professionals on a daily basis, and they’ll supervise your work.
You can use this placement to add some practical work experience to your CV. Talking about what you learned during your internship in interviews will also give you an extra edge. This kind of internship also helps demonstrate your commitment to helping others.
Our Public Health Project runs all year round and requires you to participate for a minimum of one week. We encourage you to stay longer, so you can do and learn more.
What will I do at my Public Health placement in Cambodia?
During this internship, you’ll get practical experience in basic healthcare outside of a hospital environment. Here are some of the tasks you’ll help out with:
- Conduct home visits to screen local people for various diseases
- Do health checks for children in care centres and schools
- Teach children about healthcare, nutrition, and hygiene
- Support physiotherapists treating patients at rehabilitation centres
- Record, analyse, and report data for our Global Impact Database
At your Public Health placement in Cambodia, your work will focus on the following areas:
Conduct basic medical checks during home visits
During home visits, you will conduct non-invasive tests. These tests establish how well organs are functioning and whether any treatment is needed. You’ll also measure blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and weight.
If patients need further treatment, the supervising nurse or doctor will refer the case to the closest government-funded clinic. Most of the cases we end up referring are patients with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, arthritis, or symptoms like lethargy and loss of appetite.
Do health checks for children in care centres
You will also have the opportunity to provide basic health services for children at kindergarten centres and schools. These visits tie in with our Care Project and our goal of supporting early childhood development and improving hygiene.
We work closely with a local NGO, Khemara. This organisation support vulnerable people, including women, children, and disadvantaged families. The tests we conduct for children include:
- Skin disorders
- Anaemia (through physical symptoms)
- Chest problems
- Basic teeth checks
- Common colds and flu
- Cuts and infections
Teach children about healthcare, nutrition, and hygiene
During visits to care centres, you’ll also have an opportunity to teach children about basic healthcare, hygiene, and good nutrition. You can keep it fun by brainstorming educational games, songs, and stories with your fellow interns. It’s always a good idea to combine this with posters and flyers that we can use again in the future.
Support physiotherapists treating patients at rehabilitation centres
Learn basic exercises and stretches used in physiotherapy. Provide an extra set of hands once a week at an understaffed rehabilitation centre. Professional staff can advise you on how to support different patients requiring assistance with mobility.
Record, analyse, and report data
Recording, analysing, and reporting on your findings with your supervisor is an important part of your internship.
You will use our Global Impact Database to record all patient details, which can then be used to refer back to information collected at previous consultations. A follow-up and evaluation of intervention is completed after each visit. This helps us track and monitor patients and long-term outcomes.
Who are our partners for the Public Health Internship in Cambodia?
In January 2014, Projects Abroad started working with Khemara to open three new care centres. The organisation was the first local NGO in Cambodia to support vulnerable people, including women, children, and disadvantaged families.
We also work with various other NGOs and disadvantaged communities.
Our Care and Micro-finance volunteers and interns already support local staff by working in these centres. We also collaborate with them for this Public Health Project.
Where will I be working?
All our Public Health interns in Cambodia are based in the capital of Phnom Penh.
During the colonial era, Cambodia was ruled by the French and Phnom Penh was widely known as the ‘Pearl of Asia’. These days, it is still one of the most beautiful cities in south-east Asia, home to some spectacular architectural wonders. With a population of 1.5 million, you can expect it to be bustling with activity 24/7. It also offers an intriguing intersection of traditional and modern life. Saffron-clad buddhist monks blend in with buzzing scooters and tourists carrying selfie sticks.
You will work in various disadvantaged communities in the north of the city, including Koh Dach or Silk Island in the Mekong River. Your work is divided between home visits in these communities and visiting care centres, schools, and kindergartens.
What will a typical day be like as a Public Health Intern in Cambodia?
A typical day will normally run from about 8 am to 4:30 pm, with an hour and a half set aside for lunch.
You will normally start your day by meeting your fellow interns, supervisor, and coordinators at the Projects Abroad office. From there, you will set out for your morning outreach work. Since this falls during school hours, you will head out to care centres, schools, and kindergartens. You’ll do basic health checks and educational activities.
If you’re working close to your shared apartment, you can head home for lunch and a bit of a rest. On days you’re working in communities further away, you will get a packed lunch.
Afternoon shifts are normally dedicated to house visits, where you’ll conduct basic health checks for adults.
Once per week you won’t head out for community work. Instead, you will spend the day recording, analysing, and reporting information you’ve gathered throughout the week.
We also set aside time for working on presentations and campaigns and attending skill workshops. Our staff will take time to ensure you are well-prepared for outreach activities and to lead awareness campaigns. All Public Health coordinators have a medical background, speak Khmer and have good English skills. This will make it easier for you to communicate with locals.
What are the main aims and impacts of this project?
The main aim of this project is to help provide disadvantaged and vulnerable Cambodian people with the healthcare services they need.
In Cambodia, many people don’t have regular access to healthcare. They either can’t afford to see a doctor, or they live to far away from clinics and hospitals. You’ll help us provide these services, and you’ll share knowledge about disease prevention. All of your work is supervised.
The secondary aim of this project is to help you gain practical experience with community healthcare. You’ll learn basic medical skills and learn directly from healthcare professionals. We encourage you to ask questions and take notes to make the most of your internship.
We have identified four long-term, sustainable goals in our Medical Management Plan for Cambodia. These are to:
- Improve access to basic healthcare for disadvantaged groups
- Improve the quality of specialised or alternative healthcare provided
- Encourage an understanding of medical practices and promote an exchange of medical knowledge
- Improve hygiene standards
Gain invaluable public health work experience in Cambodia, while helping us achieve these long-term goals.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Food and accommodation
You'll share accommodation with other Projects Abroad volunteers and interns during your stay in Phnom Penh. This is a great way to get to know your fellow volunteers and interns, share experiences, and explore your surroundings in your free time together.
The accommodation is safe, clean, and comfortable. Your programme fees include three meals a day.
Find out more about our accommodation.
Leisure activities and free time
Explore Cambodia and you will be amazed by the juxtaposition of vibrant cities, achingly beautiful scenery, and famous historical landmarks. This country has a lot to offer during your free time.
The world-famous gathering of temples near Siem Reap is a must for all visitors, especially the magnificent Angkor Wat. Climbing over huge tree roots to temple doorways shrouded by vines is guaranteed to bring out the Indiana Jones in you!
However, Cambodia offers far more than ancient temples. You can go trekking in the jungles or try snorkelling and dolphin-spotting in the seas surrounding Sihanoukville. For a more relaxed afternoon, you can spend time on one of the beautiful beaches.
What’s more, with a network of international volunteers in Cambodia with you, you can decide if you want to spend your free time exploring independently or in a group.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
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