It’s mentioned in some other posts on this site. Health issues, where do you go or what do you do with it? Disease is global and can happen at any time to anyone. Again, it depends on your personal situation. Are you insured and what does it cover or not. How much can you afford to pay yourself, or in advance. All questions one has to deal with according to their own personal situation. This post is partly about getting diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Cambodia and the help at Calmette hospital for that.
Siem Reap Referral Hospital
This is the public hospital of Siem Reap. In Cambodia every province or district has its own referral hospital, as it’s called. The Referral hospital of Siem Reap is located at the edge of Pubstreet area. As often in public hospitals, it can be crowded and chaotic. The referral hospitals are made for locals so they don’t have to travel all the way to Phnom Penh for their health issues.
Cambodia has an international program for free care of HIV/AIDS patients. To get registered for this program you need to go through some procedures. In case you were already diagnosed with the HIV virus in a private clinic in Cambodia, then you still need to go to a public hospital for the program. The main focus point of the specialist is that you live in Cambodia. Not only at the moment of visit, but also the rest of your life. This of course can be a point of discussion. The Siem Reap Referral Hospital might not want to take risks as a simple referral point and therefore decide to send you to Phnom Penh.
In the Calmette hospital Phnom Penh you get yourself registered first, for any issue you come for, at the outgoing building behind the construction compound along the main road. As per Sept ’18 there is huge construction going on in front of the hospital. Seemingly as expansion of the hospital. Huge cranes are at work. When you see the number of people in the outgoing building, you might feel worried that it’s gonna take along time for you. Nothing more beside the truth. The nurses working behind the counter will help you almost immediately at the information desk. They might call another person behind the counter who fills a form for you and who then gives the paperwork to the next one. At the end of this counter are three ladies dealing with payments. It’s all well organized. This process doesn’t take longer than 5 or 10 minutes.
After paying you wait on a seat, if you can find one. In many Asian countries you’ll see families of seven people coming with a sick mom who has a fever and occupy seven seats. Overall your waiting time is short. It’s even better, the ladies from the counter have called one of the several ladies in salmon (pink) colored uniforms who are walking around to help, inform or bring people. They walk you all the way to several buildings when necessary. Someone is taking care of you. A good and professional feeling at Calmette hospital.
Back to the international program for HIV/AIDS patients. As a foreigner you still will be asked regarding your stay in Cambodia. Do you work, do you have a wife, how long you’ll stay, etc? It’s obvious that Cambodia isn’t waiting and hoping for HIV tourism. People who come to get free treatment and leave the country again. Your visa will be looked at and copies of it will be made. The specialists have accountability to their superiors of the international program. Sponsored by UNAIDS and the WHO, among other donors.
Talks with one or two specialists are of course a part of the procedure, as is another blood test to see if your liver and kidneys are in shape to handle treatment and if you’re stable enough to handle side effects. The procedure may take you into the next day, partly because of the wait for the blood test results. When they decide that you fall under the rules and regulations of the international program, you will get treatment, although as a foreigner it might not be completely free treatment. Only the HIV tablets are free of cost.
Prices at Calmette
As mentioned, parts of the international program aren’t for free for foreigners at least. The following consultations cost you $10. Blood test prices depend on the number of things they test you for. CD4 blood test cost $7. A transmittable sexual disease test including HIV and one or two other things cost you max $30. Those things you pay yourself. The medicines regarding HIV/AIDS are for free under the international program. Other prices can be seen on pic for health check-ups. Lung x-ray cost you max $15. It’s not the most cheap hospital and you better ask first what something cost, so you can see for yourself if you can afford it.
A consultation price for foreigners is $10 per June ’19 and don’t come around 1 pm while your appointment is at 2 pm. They are on their knees eating behind the reception and refuse to help you or let you pay yet. When you take a seat under the fan, they switch it off. You can only guess why.
One more thing to mention about prices is that they have a nice brochure on the counter for a full body check up. When you decide to choose one you’ll be in for a disappointing surprise. The prices on the brochure turn out to be for Khmer people only. The price for foreigners is double of that. How they make money from insurances but screwing you when you don’t have one.
The only surprising thing at Calmette hospital is that every nurse and helper in uniform speaks English. Much better than in Thailand. However, some of the specialists can only speak French and Khmer. Another employee will translate. The same counts for info boards and result papers. They are usually in Khmer and/or French language. Not in English. A point where Calmette can improve. Another point for improvement can be that some departments have neither a fan nor an aircon in the hallway and waiting area.
That you’ll see lines and groups of people laying on floors, mats and on the fields waiting doesn’t give a good impression, but they are mostly families of the patients. Beside this, Calmette is a recommendable hospital to go in case of any health issues.