SILVER SPRING, Md. (NNS) -- Officers and staff from the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2 (NAMRU 2) accepted the Cambodian Royal Order of Monisaraphon for their assistance in capacity building related to three Cambodia hospitals, July 7.
Charge d'Affaires U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh Julie Chung and Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) Asia Commanding Officer Capt. Marshall Monteville attended the award ceremony hosted by the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) to honor the contributions of NAMRU 2's officers and staff in supporting the Ream Naval Base Clinic, the Preah Ket Mealea Military Hospital, and the Samdach Decho Hun Sen Sraem Military Hospital.
NAMRU 2 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia is a detachment of NMRC Asia in Singapore.
Cambodian Ministry of National Defense Health Department Director Lt. Gen. Kong Saly, Health Department Deputy Director Maj. Gen. Prom Satharat and Ream Naval Base Vice Commander Rear Adm. Ros Veasna presented NAMRU 2 Director Cmdr. Gary Brice, Department Head of Laboratory Services Lt. Cmdr. Jamal Dejili and Department Head of Clinical Research Lt. Cmdr. Catherine Berjohn with the Royal Order of Monisaraphon.
NAMRU 2's capacity-building assistance at these facilities included architectural modifications for laboratory safety and security enhancements, and electrical systems upgrades including installation of generators, incinerators, and automatic voltage regulators.
NAMRU 2 also provides annual training to six microbiology laboratory technicians from the Ministry of Health (MOH) and RCAF to enhance disease surveillance at Cambodian hospitals and clinics. The trainees receive six months of didactic and laboratory training to enhance their expertise and technical skills prior to placement at government hospitals and clinics.
In recognition of the increasing collaborative activities with the MOH and RCAF, Monteville said, "NAMRU 2 has had the honor to work in Cambodia since 1998. Next year will be our 20-year anniversary, and we remain more committed than ever to supporting the laboratory in Phnom Penh and increasing our collaborations with the Ministry of Health and with RCAF in the future."
Also recognized for their contributions were NAMRU 2 staff members Ms. Bun Chankesey, administrative assistant; Dr. Sereisophea Kheng, data entry; Mr. Sum Bunsong, data entry; Mr. Seng Daraith, data entry and trainer; and Mr. Ross Pacini and Mr. Tith Voeurn, program coordinators.
"We look forward to continuing these laboratory capacity-building engagements and training engagements and leveraging these capabilities to support future epidemiological studies with our partners in Cambodia," said Brice.
Dr. Chau Darapheak, deputy director for the Cambodian National Institutes of Public Health, also presented NAMRU 2 officers with a letter of appreciation signed by the minister of health for their contributions to the Naval Institute of Public Health during their military tours in Cambodia. Dr. Huy Rekol, director for the Cambodian National Center for Malaria and Entomology expressed his appreciation for NAMRU 2 support and presented a token of appreciation.
NAMRU 2 identifies infectious disease threats of military and public health importance and evaluates products to mitigate those threats. Since 1998, NAMRU 2's laboratory in Phnom Penh has provided regional disease surveillance, host nation diagnostic microbiology support and state of the art training in biomedical research. Ongoing support for these activities is through funding by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency and by the U.S. Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch.
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