March 2019 Khmer Times
Malaysian Embassy charge d’affaires Ruzaimi Mohamad (center) officiates the hearing care centre launch.
The camaraderie between Cambodia and Malaysia continues to propel, especially in the field of medicine where teams from both countries actively engage in knowledge and technological transfers. The partnership was further solidified with the launch of Cambodia’s first-ever Hearing Care Center at Borey Sopheak Mongkul. The centre, an initiative of an ear, nose and throat (ENT) expert Professor Dato’ Dr. Lokman Saim from Malaysia, is aimed at providing the necessary support for the Cambodian medical team in dealing with hearing-impaired patients. “Let it be clear that we are not opening an ENT clinic in Cambodia. That is not the main operative. We just wish to provide some support for doctors in Cambodia, especially involving patients that need cochlear implants. We realise that the Kingdom lacks trained audiologists to perform hearing tests and we happen to have all the equipments, for both adult and child patients. We will help with the tests and send the results to hospitals where they can proceed with the necessary procedures,” he said.
Among the services offered at the centre include ear check-up, hearing screening, consultations, audiometry, tympanometry and rehabilitation programmes. The highlight, however, is the cochlear implant. “We offer a variety of services. After getting a cochlear implant, for instance, patients can come to our centre where our audiologist can help with the mechanical works and mapping process, where we make adjustments so the patients can hear at an optimum level,” he said.
Dr. Lokman explained that “the advantage of cochlear implant is that it provides hope for those with total or profound hearing loss. They do not have to resort to sign languages as the main tool of communication anymore.” The renowned specialist said he also wished to train the local medical team to familiarise themselves with the field of audiology, particularly in conducting hearing tests, so that they would be completely independent in the future. “Until then, if Cambodia needs our help, I am more than happy to assist with the development of technology and surgical skills in Phnom Penh. I have had vast experience in training across the region, so I would be glad to share some knowledge here,” he added.
Meanwhile, Health Ministry Under Secretary of State Dr Sann Sab Ey, who also graced the event alongside his colleague Dr Peas Muslim, expressed his utmost gratitude and support for the newly-launched centre. “I have known Dr. Lokman for a long time. Thank you for bringing such technology to Cambodia. I sincerely hope this effort will truly benefit Cambodians in the future. This brings more hope to us, especially parents of children with hearing impairment. “I also hope Cambodian medical team will make full use of this knowledge transfer so we can follow Malaysia’s footsteps in the field,” he said in his keynote speech.
One the people who has had first-hand experience involving cochlear implant is 60-year-old Khai Suor from Kampong Cham. The retiree, who now enjoys gardening, has had a successful procedure in Kuala Lumpur just less than five years ago. Suor, who relayed his experience at the event, said he was born with perfect hearing but lost the ability in his 50s after a severe bout of meningitis. He then travelled across the region for months, in search of cure until he met Dr. Lokman and was introduced to the cochlear implant as an alternative. “When I lost my hearing, I could not hear at all. My world suddenly turned dark. My family would have to write things out in order to communicate. It was a really tough time in my life. Now, thanks to the implant, I can hear again. Of course it is a little difficult to hear in certain settings where multiple noises are present because it is still a man-made cochlea. But in a quiet environment, like at home, I can hear and talk to my children and grandchildren which is all that matters,” he said, grinning throughout the conversation.
Dr. Lokman Saim (left) with his former patient Khai Suor.