BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA
Twenty Six Japanese medical doctors from the Japanese Medical and Pharmaceutical Group (JMPG), led by Dr. Makoto Nishimoto, have provided free health check ups, general health education and dental treatment for pupils at the Bak Touk Primary School in Phnom Penh. This heartfelt gesture was made on May 4.
The health and dental checkups were arranged and coordinated by the Health Department in the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, the Bak Touk Primary School authorities and JMPG medical team.
About 1,000 pupils of the Bak Touk Primary School from grade 2 to 6 befitted from the checkups.
Pen Saroeurn, Director of the Health Department in the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, said the activities aimed at ensuring a healthy body as the residence of a healthy and well-educated mind. This is all the more important as these young scholars will go on to become the leaders of tomorrow.
He also said that the medical checkups would serve to increase and strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the people of Cambodia and Japan.
“Good health is a key factor and a fundamental right for our people; measure such as this will encourage them to take more care of their health. Unfettered mobility, good eyesight, sharp hearing and healthy teeth are gifts to be looked after and cherished. Furthermore, each one of these senses and capacities support the student’s progress towards academic success,” Saroeurn said.
He continued, “The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has been working very hard in advancing the cause of student health and health education in general. We have advised all schools in provinces and cities across the Kingdom of Cambodia to highlight health awareness for children and older students”, said Saroeurn. “You will have a harder time achieving success if you are constantly distracted by a nagging tooth, or hobbled by the inability to see what the teacher is writing on the board.”
“You have to know how to take care for your own health and use that as a springboard to launch yourself towards the goal of higher understanding. Given this understanding, you will become strong pillars in support of the country in future,” he told the pupils during opening remarks made on May 4.
Dr. Makoto Nishimoto, President of the Japan Medical and Pharmaceutical Group, said that this marked for the sixth time his team has operated in Cambodia. He said that last year, his team worked with 1,000 pupils in Kampong Chhnang province.
“We are happy to hold health checkups and provide health education for the pupils of Cambodia,” Nishimoto said. “We decided to provide the service because we want establish a solid ground in health for these youngsters so that they may go on to become useful members of Cambodian society,” he told The Cambodia Weekly during an interview on May 4.
We will concentrate on dental hygiene, the eyes, ears, and the gastro-intestinal tract as these are the main areas of health concern for Cambodian children”.
“We hope that these activities will set the young Cambodian Scholar well on the way towards a pain-free life of service,” he added.
Yim Sopheng, Director of Bak Touk Primary School, spoke of his appreciation for the medical team’s mighty efforts. He confirmed the fact that their message had been well received and understood and that his pupils were viewing the matter of personal health in a new light.
Aware of the medical team’s selfless dedication to improving the quality of life for young learners, he requested more of the same for students elsewhere in the country.
Grade 6 student Ho Sophanna, 12, said he was grateful to the Japanese medical team for the checkups he received. He has a clean bill of health and advice about effective brushing and flossing.
He continued “I used to take my health for granted; not now though. Academic success is important to me as I have some plans for my future. I do not want these to be derailed by illness and the visit from the doctors has shown me how to avoid ill health,” he said.
Yim Sopheng said that since 2000, his primary school, working in partnership with the Unilever and Pepsodent Companies has paid special attention to dental hygiene, with 5 minutes set aside each school day before the start of class for proper tooth brushing. The result has been a noticeable decline in student trips to the dentist to have cavities filled.
According to report, there are 4,027 students including 1,985 female students studying at Phnom Penh’s Bak Touk High School. ///