August 2019 | Issue 43
Linking hands for community care

ANG WEE KIAT (DEC 2017).jpg zhenghua-01.jpgBy Dr Ang Wee Kiat, alumnus of Class of 2018, and Li Zhenghua, Class of 2022

The first community programme that LKCMedicine students went on with a doctor from the School’s pioneer batch was especially poignant

Overseas Community Involvement Programme (OCIP) Chiang Mai is an alumnus-student OCIP that supports healthcare and health education efforts for rural communities in the Phrao District of Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. This is a project initiated by former LKCMedicine Executive Vice-Dean of Strategic Relations and International Affairs Prof Lionel Lee in collaboration with Methodist Missions Society. The team that embarked on the recent trip from 13-20 July 2019 comprised four doctors, two physiotherapists and nine LKCMedicine students. The doctors are Assistant Dean for Year 5 Associate Professor Tham Kum Ying,
Senior Lecturer Dr David Lim and two LKCMedicine alumni for the first time – Dr Ang Wee Kiat and Dr Tan Xuan Hao. The physiotherapists, Mr Justin Wee and Ms Ong Pei Gin, are from Tan Tock Seng Hospital, LKCMedicine’s primary clinical training hospital.

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Left-right: OCIP Chiang Mai team: making house visits with Year 4 medical students from Chiang Mai University

Arriving at Long Khot Medical Clinic to begin health screening at 7.45am, it was already bustling with activity. Villagers proceeded through a few stations which included profiling questionnaires, and blood-sugar testing in order for us to gather a holistic profile of the patients. Subsequently, they underwent a doctor’s consultation where their needs were assessed. Patients who needed physiotherapy were further evaluated and prescribed exercises by the physiotherapists. We managed to screen 150 patients. The following day, we made home visitations for the housebound and elderly who have limited access to healthcare.

We ended the day at Enfu Boarding House where we conducted health education for children and youths.
We then travelled to Mae Pung Medical Clinic where we interacted with Year 4 medical students from Chiang Mai University who were attached there. Activities included health education focusing on osteoarthritis, clinics, and home visitations. On our last day, we toured Phrao Hospital, visited a herbal medication supplier and held a children’s programme at Little Candles Kindergarten where we played games, and taught basic
health education.

It was a memorable first trip for our OCIP, where we were able to contribute towards the healthcare efforts for the communities in Phrao. We aim to make the programme sustainable through partnership with a local non-governmental organisation, and forming lasting relationships. It was also a medically enriching process for the students, doctors and physiotherapists. We are looking forward to the next trip. Stay tuned!