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11 June 2024 - Story


Phin Samon, a 34-year-old mother, is determined to provide her baby, who was born with clubfeet (also called talipes), all the best possible care and attention he needs to thrive, hoping that her son will grow up healthy and strong.

Ms. Samon, a garment worker, and her husband, Mr. Khov Mengly, 35-year-old, who works in construction, were married in 2010. The couple lives in Trean Village, Trean Commune, Kampong Siem District, Kampong Cham Province, with their three children. Their youngest child, Sinoun, was born in October 2023.

"I felt an extreme fear. I questioned what was wrong with my child. What should I do about this? I was shocked and felt overwhelmed," Ms. Samon shared her emotional experience when the midwife revealed to her that her newborn child, Sinoun, had clubfeet.

The sudden news left Ms. Samon with no understanding of what it meant for her child's future, and she struggled to imagine the difficulties her child would face in life if he could not walk or move around comfortably. However, her concerns were alleviated as her child's condition could potentially be corrected with early treatment.

Ms. Samon then pursued the treatment for her child at the Kampong Cham Provincial Referral Hospital, where specialised doctors and equipment were available to provide Sinoun with proper treatment as advised by Ms. Chhorn Neardey, the midwife at Trean Health Centre in Trean Commune.

Ms. Neardey participated in the "Physical Screening Tools for newborn to 5 years old" training in August 2023, organised by the Grandparents, Parents, and Communities Join Forces to Give Young Children a Healthy Start in Life (GRAND) project, funded by Save the Children Hong Kong, which was introduced in July 2022.

This training help to enhance the knowledge and skills of healthcare personnel, such as nurses and midwives from all health centres in the targeted project areas and health staff from the Kampong Cham-Kampong Siem Operational District Health Office, and equip them with the ability to identify families with children who may have potential development delays and/or disabilities and provide them with information about early detection and referrals.

Through this training, Ms. Neardey said she also learned how to utilise disability screening tools and advise parents of infants in seeking further treatment with support, adding that Sinoun's case was the first of its kind at the centre.

"It's important for Ms. Samon and other parents to know where they could seek further treatment," said Ms. Neardey, "For newborns, physical screenings such as head, chest, and body length measurements, including mouth are very important to provide appropriate and effective treatment for both mild and severe problems or signs of disability."

Sinoun's feet need gentle massaging to correct their alignment. He is required to wear special boots that are linked together with a bar to prevent his clubfeet from recurring. He is advised to wear these boots for most of the time in 5 years.

According to Ms. Samon, the doctor also suggested regular check-ups and follow-up appointments to monitor her son's progress and make any necessary adjustments to his treatment.

"Despite financial challenges, my husband and I are committed to ensuring that we provide Sinoun with appropriate medical equipment and the attention he needs to feel secure and happy," she said.

In late 2023, Ms. Samon joined the caregiver group, an initiative the GRAND project created to provide a safe space and equip caregivers with valuable knowledge and skills related to childcare and child development.

Interviewed by: Dam Tithiavan, Project Officer
Written by: Taing Vida, Communications and Campaign Manager
Proofread by: Chin Kethya, Donor Reporting Specialist
Photography: Yous Ratha, Communications Officer