Orthopaedic surgeon Chin Pak Lin calls himself an “accidental” volunteer. Although he had always wanted to share his medical experience with other medical practitioners in the region, he lacked the impetus to do so until he met Professor Tay Boon Keng. A fellow orthopaedic surgeon, Prof Tay frequently led medical personnel on medical and academic exchanges overseas.
Dr Chin, who runs his own practice at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, then became involved in SIF’s Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Project in Cambodia at Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital as a specialist volunteer in 2010. Specialist volunteers are trained professionals working in various fields. They include doctors, allied health-care professionals, teachers, social workers and IT specialists.
Dr Chin helped to train doctors in Cambodia in joint replacement surgery for the hip and knee. He also mentored Cambodian health-care professionals during their training attachments in Singapore. Since then, Dr Chin has visited Phnom Penh on SIF missions three times a year and plans to continue volunteering his time if his expertise is needed.
He says his team of volunteers was gratified to have made a positive impact on the community in Cambodia, adding: “Cambodians no longer need to travel overseas to have hip or knee replacement surgery. In the past, they would have flown to Vietnam or Thailand for such surgery. This is now readily available at some private hospitals in Cambodia and at Calmette Hospital, where the procedure is state of the art.”
This article is published in https://singaporemagazine.sif.org.sg/the-value-of-giving