Cambodia Oxford Medical Research Unit (COMRU)
The Angkor Hospital for Children is a paediatric hospital in Siem Reap, northwest Cambodia. The city has a population of 140,000 people and is the fastest growing city in the country; a direct result of a boom in tourism with more than 2000 people arriving each day to visit the Angkor Wat temples.
This video introduces COMRU, the Cambodia Oxford Medical Research Unit, a collaboration between the Angkor Hospital for Children and Bangkok-based Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU).
Currently run by Dr Claudia Turner and Professor Paul Turner, COMRU works to provide insights into the leading causes of bacterial sepsis among the local Cambodian population. The Unit's new microbiology lab, which opened in June 2013, will allow medical researchers to identify causes of sepsis and sepsis-related death, and facilitate the development of rational approaches to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of pediatric infections at the Angkor Hospital for Children and throughout Cambodia.
CT: I am Claudia Turner.
PT: I am Paul Turner.
CT: We are not a double act - we are running COMRU here, which is part of MORU laboratories.
PT: We’ve seen diseases here in Cambodia which are actually quite well under control in Thailand and the other more affluent countries of South East Asia. So diseases such as rabies and tetanus are still quite common here. There’s a lot still to be done to understand the basic problems facing children and hospitalizing in this country.
CT: So the most common diagnoses over here is of pneumonia, or respiratory diseases and that’s one of our main areas of interest for research what exactly are the bacteria that are causing those diseases, what is the virus that is most predominantly causing the disease and what are the primary interactions between the two.
PT: we get to study infections that are more severe end of the spectrum and so the establishment of a microbiology lab in Cambodia was almost a unique undertaking at the time that the MORU team became involved with the HC. There are still only a handful of functioning labs in the entire country. The next step for our lab, is to build on the existing technologies and introduce technologies which are now relatively common in the Western world but still out of the reach of most of the labs in this region.
Ending Text: Thanks to The Cambodian people, The Angkor Hospital for Children, The Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, The University of Oxford, and The Wellcome Trust.