University of Salford helps form global partnership to support Cambodian street children

Friday 13 March 2015

A new three year global partnership has been formed between the University of Salford, the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, and M’Lop Tapang, a local non-profit organisation that works with over 4000 children and families living on the streets of Sihanoukville in Cambodia.

The main goals of the partnership are to share clinical expertise as well as knowledge of child protection issues between the partnership organisations so that all three can develop and learn new skills from one another.

As part of the partnership arrangement Honorary Professor at the University of Salford, Andrew Rowland, who is also Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine at North Manchester General Hospital and a Churchill Fellow of The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, has joined the board of directors at M’Lop Tapang for an initial period of three years.

As a board member Professor Rowland, who will become registered with the Cambodian Medical Council later this year, has committed to travelling to Cambodia twice per year for five days at a time to undertake mobile medical clinics with the staff at M’Lop Tapang. He will also do some educational work around the recognition of sick children and safeguarding vulnerable children.

The partnership was agreed following Professor Rowland’s visit to Cambodia last year as a Churchill Fellow.

Also, as part of the partnership, two University of Salford student midwives who are based at North Manchester General Hospital, Janine Cadd and Melissa Maclennan, will travel to Cambodia later this month to meet with M’Lop Tapang representatives.

University of Salford Honorary Professor Andrew Rowland, Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine at North Manchester General Hospital said:

“This partnership brings fantastic opportunities for organisations to learn from one another so that we can all contribute in a far greater way to making our communities much better places for children to live and develop in the future. We stand to learn a huge amount from M’Lop Tapang, which provides children and families living on the streets and beaches of Cambodia with much needed shelter, medical care, education, training, counselling, family support and protection from all types of abuse.

“I will use my experiences of the way that M’Lop Tapang deals with child protection cases as well as acute illness in a pragmatic way to better inform the way we provide care to patients here at the Trust. This will be vital to help us to develop a ChildSafe model in the UK and there will be many valuable opportunities for us to work together on joint-research and educational projects.

“Every child should have every chance of good health, every chance of happiness and every chance of protection from harm. This partnership is one exciting way that we can have a positive influence on those ultimate aims.”

The University of Salford has recognised the partnership by awarding Honorary Lecturer posts to two staff from M’Lop Tapang: British Nurse Maggie Eno MBE, co-founder and coordinator of the organisation, and local Medical Team Leader, Nurse Ngov Chanrary.

In addition to formal acknowledgement of the importance of the work undertaken by these nurses, the appointments provide access to the University’s wide-ranging electronic resources and links to specialist nurses and social workers in the School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences.

Tony Long, Professor of Child & Family Health at the University of Salford, said:

“The learning from this partnership is mutual, with British services and professionals having as much to gain as our Cambodian colleagues. The change achieved by M’Lop Tapang with so little resource is stunning. It reinforces the value of our efforts to pursue a public health approach to safeguarding children here, and boosts our motivation to persist in tackling seemingly intractable problems in protecting children.”

Maggie Eno MBE, Co-ordinator of M’Lop Tapang, said:

“This exciting three way collaboration allows each of us to share our best practices, all of which were developed from extremely different settings.

“M’Lop Tapang has learned to be extremely resourceful in its approach to protecting large numbers of vulnerable children; we do this through making health care easily accessible in the community, and by ensuring that the whole community takes responsibility for safeguarding its children.

“However, we lack access to high quality medical information and other much needed expertise. The team at North Manchester General Hospital are already providing us with vital technical support on challenging medical situations through regular Skype clinics and bi-annual follow up visits.

“The collaboration with the University of Salford will allow us to improve our knowledge through shared learning, gaining support in conducting research and accessing academic studies that are not yet available in Cambodia.

“This unique, open partnership offers mutual benefits to all of us, sharing and using each other’s expertise that will result in improved services to children across the globe."