Update on Cambodian Acid Survivor’s Charity (CASC), October 2012

The operating room at Children's Surgical Centre.

Work at the CASC continues with the provision of surgeries, legal aid and ongoing care for victims of acid attacks.  A central part of CASC’s focus is to advocate for comprehensive laws to prevent these attacks by regulating the sale of acid and prosecuting perpetrators of acid violence.  New Day received the following positive update from CASC Project Manager Ziad Samman:

Acid Law: The Cambodian‘Acid Law’ was passed in December of 2012. However, only the ‘punishment and sentencing’ aspects have been enacted. The details of all regulatory aspects of the legislation are dependent on a sub decree that is currently still under development, therefore the sale and distribution of acid remains unregulated at this stage. However, we have received information from sources in the Ministry of Interior that the sub decree is likely to be finalized and put into effect before the end of 2012.

Legal Cases: In 2012 CASC has had some successes in the court room. Two legal cases went to trial both resulting in the conviction of the perpetrators – one eight year sentence (in absentia), and one 10 year sentence (with the perpetrator in prison). However it is worth noting that these cases did not fall under the Acid Law as they relate to attacks that took place in 2011 before the law was enacted. We are expecting the first legal cases to be tried under the new legislation before the end of 2012. 

Statistics: Over the past 2 years the number of acid attacks recorded has decreased dramatically. In 2010 CASC recorded a total of 26 acid attacks resulting is 43 people being burnt. So far in 2012 CASC has only recorded a total of 6 confirmed acid attacks, four accidental burns, and two suicides by drinking acid, resulting in a total of 13 people being burnt. One can speculate that this is partially due to the development of the acid law, the up scaling of prevention activities (by organizations such as CASC and CCHR), and the increased publicity relating to acid violence issues in the local media.   



Update on Obstetric Fistula Program at CSC, June 2012

Since the 2011 grant to Children’s Surgical Centre for their Obstetric Fistula Program they have performed 25 surgeries on fistula patients and run 10 months of radio adverts to raise awareness of the problem and publicize their services.  Due to the support of a grant from the UNFPA, CSC no longer requires funds for their fistula program. Their partner charity Cambodian Acid Survivor’s Charity (CASC) is in need of funds and has requested a US$5,850 grant from New Day.  This grant will cover 15 surgeries for their female patients as well as costs for their physiotherapy surgery support.  This will be the second New Day grant to CASC and we are delighted to support them once again.  You can read the CSC report here: Report for New Day Foundation

In May 2012 New Day visited CSC in Phnom Penh.  Below is a summary of the visit by member Shannon Rogers:

Met with Anne McMurrey the Stakeholder Relations Officer to tour the center and receive an update on the Obstetric Fistula Program. CSC finished the renovations of their facilities.  They now have 110 beds, up from 40, and more operating space as well. They are moving out of a side building that they utilized for the eye exams and physical therapy.  Was only a temporary arrangement. They recently completed 2 OF surgeries.  There are 2 waiting to be done – the Doctor is now traveling for training. They just completed another outreach to the countryside to seek patients and spread the word about the OF capabilities at CSC. The outreach and awareness campaign are still considered to be crucial.  The radio campaign illustrates the challenge that many who are actually affected by OF have never had care or had ailment defined for them.  Most don’t know what it is called or realize the problem being spoken about on radio is what they are dealing with. 

Funding for OF program is not needed right now.  They are still using UN funds.

Two volunteers are currently researching the effectiveness of the OF outreach program and follow up program.

Possible Funding Needs:  The Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC)  A program Dr. Jim started since many of the acid burn victims would not leave the hospital after their extensive surgeries there.  They did not feel comfortable going home and needed a more safe and supportive environment. 


New Day Visit to Children’s Surgical Center – November 2011

New Day members with Eric Gonzales of CSC

On November 25, New Day members visited the Children’s Surgical Center in Phnom Penh to learn more about the amazing work they are doing and get an update on the grant that we disbursed earlier this year for their Obstetric Fistula program.  You can read about the visit in the below post from New Day member Shannon Rogers:

The first thing we noticed driving up to the CSC was all the work going on!  The CSC is in the process of adding on to their building in order to double their space.  When complete, there will be 100 beds and space for 8-10 surgeries at a time.  Based on the demands they are seeing – the space will be put to use!

The New Day Grant of $10,000 for Obstetric Fistula Surgeries has not been fully utilized yet.  In total, the CSC has done 15 OF Surgeries, and most of the women have had the problem for over 20 years.  The surgeries can be complex, and only about 50% are successful after one procedure.  Follow-up surgeries are often needed.

The UNFPA recently had a $20,000 grant that was allocated to an organization that addressed the Obstetric Fistula problem in Cambodia.  Thanks to the education/publicity campaign that was funded by New Day, the UNPFA was directed to CSC.  They are now known as the NGO that is addressing this problem, and are the recipients of the grant!!   A team from CSC is now spending a month traveling around the countryside of Cambodia to spread the word about the Obstetric Fistula and Acid Burn programs.  Due to the great shame on the part of the victim and the families, many victims are hidden away and can be difficult to find.  The scope of the problem is still unknown.  Unfortunately, based on a rough estimate of about 5% of women in Cambodia receiving medical attention during pregnancy and delivery, it is likely a large problem.   Dr. Jim stated that the Acid Burn Program also started out this way.  As soon as word gets out and people learn there is a place to go – the victims will start coming.

In addition to the Education/Publicity campaign, Dr. Jim is also hoping to utilize the UN relationship to get some specialty training for the surgeons in the area of Obstetric Fistulas.

CSC Fistula Project – September 2011 Update

New Day has received the following update from the Children’s Surgical Center in Phnom Penh Cambodia: CSC-Newday-VVF report Sept ’11

Since our US$10,000 grant in February 2011 US$3,200 has been spent on the following:

1. radio advertising to encourage fistula sufferers to come forward and seek help

2. 5 successful fistula consultations and surgeries

3. 10 consultations with sufferers who are in the process of scheduling their surgeries.

CSC is concentrating on the training of one of their surgeons (and their only female surgeon) in performing successful fistula surgeries.  A visiting specialist in this area will be providing her with additional training and support so that she can continue to help women who are being assisted through the project to heal and move forward with their lives.

Fistula Program Funded!

CSC – Obstetric Fistula Program

February 17, 2011

Project : Obstetric Fistula Program – Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC)

Location : Phnom Penh, Cambodia (www.csc.org)

Funding status : Approved

Budget :

Corporate Funding Partner : None

CSC and Fistula Project Background

New Day members will recall CSC – Children’s Surgical Centre, Cambodia – as we have worked with them previously on CASC (Cambodia Acid Survivors Charity). CSC is an organisation that aims to improve the quality of life for disabled poor people by providing them with free rehabilitation surgery. To this end, they have now started an Obstetric Fistula Program.

Obstetric Fistula is a condition which occurs in women who have suffered through prolonged labour, sometimes lasting several days. It often occurs in poor, rural areas where women have little access to health care during pregnancy and labour, or cannot afford it. The pressure of the baby’s head on the bladder and vagina during this prolonged labour can lead to a “gap” or fistula somewhere between the bladder and vagina (or rectum). The baby often dies, and the woman suffers from continual leaking of urine and/or faeces which causes her to smell badly. Since the condition is often untreated, the women can be socially excluded by their husbands, family and community.

Obstetric Fistula can be repaired by a routine surgery which normally costs around US$300-400. CSC has initiated the first in-country fistula program in Cambodia.

New Day grant will be used for the following areas of the program:

1. Outreach – As patients are often in rural areas and excluded from society, CSC first needs to inform the public about their program and find the sufferers.

2. Training – CSC will send Cambodian surgeons for specialist training.

3. Awareness – Programs such as radio ads will be conducted

4. Equipment – Purchase of required surgical equipment

5. Surgeries – Funds will cover cost of surgeries, approx. US$300 per procedure.