PhD candidate and Community Advocate in the Cambodian community
I am a HEP Hero because I believe that increasing people’s consciousness on the negative consequences of late diagnosis of hepatitis, particularly Hepatitis B, and available services is a way to encourage people to have a hepatitis B blood test and get vaccinated or treatment on time.
Based on this belief, I have contributed to the hepatitis B project through four types of activities: (1) helping the project on translation and production of IEC materials, (2) distributions of these IEC materials to the community through public or religious events, (3) giving some talks about Hep B issues through radio programs or social media platforms, at religious events, and (4) production of some interactive video clips and sharing them on most viewing community social media platforms.
I am a PhD candidate in Development Studies at the University of Melbourne, and my project is on the ‘Constructions of Masculinities and Femininities in Childcare Policy in Cambodia’. I have about a decade of working experience for national and international non-governmental organisations on gender and women’s rights in Cambodia.
My journey is linked with an interaction of a number of matters. I had a high level of cholesterol for many years and finally, I took some medications, which affected my liver. Then, I was interested in understanding more about the liver. My interests increased after the passing of my father-in-law due to hepatitis B.
Then a friend of mine told me that a volunteering opportunity at Hepatitis Victoria. I thought that was a good opportunity for me to understand more about Hepatitis and to give back to society.
Giving back to society is part of my DNA because I have been working on development work in Cambodia for many years. Just after joining the project, my father passed away.
This situation hit me so hard but triggered me to do more good deeds for society. Therefore, the interaction of my health issues, work experience in development work, and the passing of my father-in-law and father have made me more active in what I am doing with Hepatitis Victoria.
I call on the Cambodian community in Australia as well in Cambodia to do a hepatitis B blood test and get vaccinated or treatment on time. Early diagnosis of hepatitis B can save your life.
Sambath’s message to others…
I want to call on relevant stakeholders in the Cambodian community in Australia to pay particular attention to health issues, particularly Hep B, in our community. Please consider health issues as important, if not more important, than political issues. Caring about our community health issues is considered as Bon [a meritorious deed] in Buddhism.