Medical Electives in Cambodia | Global Medical Projects

Medical Electives in Cambodia

Medicine in Cambodia – Background

Cambodia is slowly recovering from its recent history of invasion and genocide and so suffers from a poor national health system and a high burden of infectious diseases, mainly HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. Cambodian public hospitals are poorly funded, poorly equipped, and often a few years behind modern medicine because of this. The country has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Southeast Asia, standing at 2.6 percent of the population. As the disease is new in Cambodia, AIDS patients face severe discrimination. Tuberculosis is estimated at around 4.5 per 1,000 people, one of the highest rates in the world. Although malaria prevalence has decreased in the last few years, it remains a serious health concern in Cambodia due to growing resistance to available treatment.

The Placements

Siem Reap

Our main placement in Siem Reap is the Government Provincial Hospital. As the provincial hospital, patients are referred to Siem Reap from smaller district hospitals and village clinics so the cases you will see are varied.

The hospital has about 200 beds and is incredibly busy and cramped. Facilities aren’t great and definitely what you’re used to at home. Medicine in Cambodia is a few years behind us in the UK anyway so a placement here is certainly eye opening. Previous electives have been conducted in the following departments:

Obs & Gynae
Infectious diseases

Communication is a big factor here as few of the patients speak English. This is also true of most of the staff so you will be paired with a Cambodian medical student with good English who’ll act as your interpreter.

If you are interested in spending time in smaller clinics in the surrounding rural communities we can also arrange for you take part on outreach projects on rural health initiatives and health promotion and education programmes.

Phnom Penh

We work with a number of hospitals in Phnom Penh – where you will be based will depend on your objectives. Our main placement is Kossamak Hospital, a national, university affiliated institution. As a teaching hospital, this placement is ideal for medical students and those on elective placements.

The hospital is a government funded hospital but patients still have to pay to receive treatment. The hospital still treats patients who cannot afford to pay but this puts tremendous strain on the hospital’s resources. Patients are never turned away, whether they can afford to pay or not, but it does often affect the treatment they receive. For example if the patient or their family cannot afford pain medication, they have to suffer in silence.

This placement is particularly interesting if you are interested in orthopaedics or diabetes. Road traffic accidents are common in Cambodia due to the standard of driving and road conditions. These accidents are often compounded as few people riding cycles, motos or motorbikes wear protective clothing or helmets. Industrial injuries are also common due to poor health and safety regulations in Cambodian factories and workplaces.

Diabetes is an increasing problem in Cambodia, particularly type 2 diabetes. Poverty means that Cambodian’s have a poor mainly rice based diet. Studies have shown that even though Cambodians do not consume a lot of sugar, lack of exercise may be the major contributing cause to the incidence of diabetes in the population. This would be an interesting research topic for an elective student as this hospital has a department that focuses on this disease.

Previous electives have been conducted in the following departments:

ICU and Emergency

Contact us to discuss your objectives and which project would be best for you.

Accommodation on this project is in our group accommodation, usually sharing with others. You will be joined in Cambodia by others on our medical, teaching, media and business projects.


Cost in £

2 weeks3 weeks4 weeks5 weeks6 weeks

Cost in Euros

2 weeks3 weeks4 weeks5 weeks6 weeks

Cost in US $

2 weeks3 weeks4 weeks5 weeks6 weeks

Cost in Auz $

2 weeks3 weeks4 weeks5 weeks6 weeks

Cost in £

Extra weeksExtra monthsLanguage courseOrphanage project
£250£995£100 (per wk)£100

Cost in Euros

Extra weeksExtra monthsLanguage courseOrphanage project
330€1,350€135€ (per wk)135€

Cost in US $

Extra weeksExtra monthsLanguage courseOrphanage project
$400$1,595$160 (per wk)$160

Cost in Auz $

Extra weeksExtra monthsLanguage courseOrphanage project
Au$500Au$1,990Au$200 (per wk)Au$200

Other Destination Information

Photos from our projects in Cambodia (on Facebook, opens in new tab)

Our Costs Include:

Not Included:

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