Each year, hundreds of people in Cambodia are over-prescribed antibiotics. If the patients are lucky to recover from their illnesses, they face an even more daunting possibility: the over-abundance of antibiotics may herald the creation of a super-bug, bacteria that have adapted and become resistant to antibiotics.
One Touro College of Pharmacy (TCOP) student spent her winter break trying to prevent that from happening.
TCOP student Khloe Le spent a month in Cambodia as part of a World Health Organization (WHO) fellowship. As part of the fellowship, Khloe worked with the Cambodian government to help develop an international formulary of drugs that listed all the information about the drugs and their effects along with instructions to ensure better use of the medications.
Khloe said her interest in international health arose from her family’s origin. Her parents fled Vietnam after the war and met in a refugee camp in Indonesia where Khloe was born. Raised in Seattle, Khloe said that she was attracted to TCOP’s mission of service after she graduated from Seattle Pacific University.
“Touro’s focus on public health really lured me in,” she explained.
Cambodia wasn’t the first time that Khloe has been overseas on a service mission. Since beginning her academic career in Harlem, Khloe has travelled to Haiti, Ghana and Kenya. In Haiti, she helped build a house for a widow. During her trip to Kenya, Khloe worked with individuals with disabilities. In Ghana, her fellow Touro students helped her raise money to buy pencils and books for students in an orphanage.
“It may seem like pocket change to American students, but even small amounts of money can help these children pay for school,” said Khloe
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At a school for deaf children in Kenya, the children swarmed around Khloe and dressed her in traditional African garb.
“Everyone should do a trip like this,” she stated. “You can feel the impact you’re having.”
At the tail-end of her month in Cambodia, Khloe delivered a presentation on a proposed certification course for shopkeepers who typically distribute antibiotics and other drugs to residents.
“Khmer people are very receptive and really value American education,” said Khloe. “I was well prepared with the skills Touro gave me.”
After she graduates this year, Khloe plans to return to Seattle and work at Multicare Health System.