Written by Dr. Ram Ramabhadran, who joined BMET Cambodia as a guest teacher from June 6- June 30, 2015.
As in the past two years, I was offered an opportunity by Engineering World Health to teach biomedical engineering as part of their BMET Training program. Some of you may recall that I was a volunteer lecturer with EWH in Honduras in 2013 and Rwanda in 2014, making this trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia my third on EWH’s behalf.
This trip differed from my previous two trips not much in terms of the mission, but in the trainees’ backgrounds and the language of instruction. In Tegucigalpa, Honduras, I trained working biomedical technicians and their instructors, and in Kigali, Rwanda the goal was to “train the trainers”, about 12 members of the electrical engineering faculty. In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I trained the first batch of biomedical technicians whose academic backgrounds, training, and facility with English varied widely, which made presenting advanced instrumentation ideas a special challenge. As previously in Honduras, where my lectures were simultaneously translated to Spanish (and unlike Rwanda where I could lecture in English), the lectures in Cambodia were translated into Khmer, the language of Cambodia. I was assisted by a young translator, who spoke English well, and a senior student working on his master’s degree in nuclear medicine who had a good command of technical English; he often took over and explained difficult technicalities in Khmer.