An international collaboration coordinated by Prof Graham Gumley completed a successfully 10 day program in Phnom Penh. The international collaboration consisted of Australian upper limb surgeons, surgeons from the United States of America, United Kingdom, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as Australian hand therapists, completing a multidisciplinary team.

The surgical team was well coordinated across three hospitals (National Paediatric Hospital, Children’s Surgical Centre, and Kossamak Hospital. supporting local surgeons with complex surgical cases being undertaken.

The education focus continued throughout the visit with formal afternoon lectures on assessment and repair techniques for a multitude of upper limb presentations, delivered at the University of Health Sciences.

In additional to surgical activities, the team was able to make valuable contributions to the National Surgery Conference, providing a surgical skills workshop for 25 Cambodian surgical trainees consisting of multiple workstations featuring:

  • upper limb assessment and x-ray interpretation,
  • nerve repair techniques,
  • flexor tendon repair,
  • extensor tendon repair,
  • hand therapy techniques.

These workstations held a strong focus on attendee participation under direct supervision and guidance of the Outreach faculty. The hand therapists had previously held a full day clinical based workshop at the invitation of the Cambodian Physiotherapy Association, and welcomed a member of their executive to participate in the delivery of skills training. This inclusion reinforced to local surgeons and trainees the essential role held by hand therapists in the care and management of patients.

The Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh continues to strive for improved patient care, in response to the initial ground work undertaken from 2014-2017 (acknowledgement to Kareen Dunlop) in identifying a hospital-wide infection control program, as preparation for advanced orthopaedic surgery including arthroplasty. Dr Peter Lugg has demonstrated a great commitment to clinical teaching and improving the clinical outcomes for the local population. The clinical ward areas are much improved, and the hospital now is host to a new dedicated physiotherapy department. This is an area of patient care that they are keen to pursue with further training and have encouraged Orthopaedic Outreach to consider support for physiotherapists development with future visits.