UP VOICE VOL.37 – April 2020

The Official Newsletter of the University of Puthisastra (UP)-Vol.37 April 2020 Download


Huge congratulations to UP’s very first batch of 92 Medical students who achieved 100% success in the exam. This is a great achievement for UP and our students and reflects the quality standards of UP’s Medical program. UP is the only medical school in Cambodia to achieve 100% pass rate. This first batch of Medical students have developed excellent skills to prepare for work in the government service, private clinics or prepare for postgraduate study. Many of the graduating class have had the opportunity to follow pathways to advanced careers. UP students have worked with UPs dedicated team to provide excellent clinical experience using class-leading equipment compared to other students in Cambodia and around the region. In addition following UPs vision of exposing Cambodian students to worlds best practice, more than half of the class have travelled overseas to attend a conference or take part in exchange programs at other Medical schools. This excellent result is an indicator of the quality and rigor of UPs curriculum, teaching standards and importantly will provide top-quality new employees for employers. This is great news for all UP students and staff, not only that but we are making UP even better! Watch this space – some very exciting developments in coming weeks.
There is no better time to be studying at UP.


Huge congratulations also to batch 6 of the Medical Laboratory Technology students who achieved a 100% passed the National Exit Exam on 15 March 2020. The Department of Laboratory Sciences and UP are really excited about these great results. This is the first time ever that we have achieved 100% pass rate. However, we have never failed on working hard because “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pelé, Brazilian football legend.

With UP continuously improving the level of education, the Department of Laboratory Sciences is doing their best to provide quality teaching to their student. We look forward to see this great result again in future generations.


Huge success also to batch 4 pharmacy students who achieved a 97% pass rate in National Exit Exams. This showed a great achievement for the Faculty of Pharmacy and University of Puthisastra (UP) as a whole. To support students and maximise success, Pharmacy worked with students via senior pharmacy club and had prepared several mock tests both for Multiple Choices Questions (MCQ) and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) by using computer-based systems. Created to help students identify their strengths and weaknesses, and finding ways to improve students’ capacity to succeed in their graduation exam. These initiatives not only obtained great 97% passing results but also built students’ confidence, readiness, and spirit to overcome the challenges on the way as well as providing employment opportunities. UP is doing a huge amount to improve quality of education in health sciences and information technology to reach international level. In particular, Faculty of Pharmacy is strongly committed to produce highest quality graduates with knowledge, skills and good attitudes to serve the Cambodian society.

From Semester 1 2019-2020, UP introduced its very own the Moodle Learning Management System to students in Foundation Year as well as some courses in later years. Branded as “UPOP” the University of Puthisastra’ s Online Platform, the system has proved very popular with both lecturers and students, making learning all the more enjoyable by providing a range of learning options, and providing opportunities to re-visit previous lessons to re-inforce the learning. Its also the modern way of learning with blended and flipped learning being rapidly adopted by the top universities worldwide.

Some of the benefits of UPOP are:
  • Active learning: Our students work and learn together in forums and wikis, and this encourages self-reflection and peer assessment using dedicated UPOP tools. Both learners and teachers get rapid feedback through polls and surveys. Much more effective and fun for students and lecturers alike.
  • Online Exam: UPOP has inbuilt assessment tools, such as Quizzes (with setup options such as multiple choice, true/false) ready to be populated for in-semester testing.
  • Online grading: For in-semester assessment tasks, lecturers can implement grading scales and rubrics, assign different markers to assignments, and control when marks are released. Much easier for students and lecturers.
  • Online and offline: UP students can submit assignments, post in forums, and more – on and offline – using either the UPOP Desktop or UPOP Mobile app on devices (phones, tablets and laptops).
  • Analytics and tracking: Allows UP to manage teaching much more effectively and identify students who may need additional help.

UPOP’s analytics monitor our students’ learning activities using enhanced completion tracking and personalised learning plans, built from competency frameworks and learning objectives. These help our teachers to predict and support students’ learning outcomes. With the current challenge of closed campuses as a consequence of COVID-19, UP is really grateful for the commitment of lecturers to use UPOP to make sure classes can continue to run in Foundation Year.

For Year 2 and above, our six dedicated Learning facilitators are rapidly training our dedicated teachers to use Google Meet as a starting point to deliver learning materials to students ready for Semester 2. Faculty teams, together with colleagues from Information Technology Services and the Quality, Learning and Teaching, and Students Department are working together to ensure that our students’ learning is interrupted as little as possible by the necessary restrictions of movement to control the spread of COVID-19.

As we begin Semester 2, teachers in Year 2 and above will also transition to UPOP, to provide continuity and modern and best learning and teaching practice through flexibility and student-centred modes of teaching.


The UP Dental Clinic remains open for EMERGENCY PATIENTS from 9am to 12noon – Monday to Friday. Dr Sereybot will be available to see patients following an initial screening prior to coming into the clinic. He and the dental assistants have the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) to wear and know to keep patients and staff safe from Covid-19 infection.

Last week several patients came in with orthodontic problems eg loose wires or brackets. Some other patients had toothache. Dental students are still not permitted to come to clinic – but if any of their patients need help they can come to see Dr Sereybot.

UP nursing and midwifery students stepping up to help communities

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”, in honor of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale. This was called to showcase nursing and midwifery in recognition of the enormous contributions made to delivering health care and preventing illness for our communities all around the world.

Although the global campaign for the Year of the Nurse and Midwives has been postponed due to coronavirus, we again see the huge contribution made by nurses and midwives around the world, at this time of global public health pandemic. Nurses and midwives, as the largest health workforce, are the foundation of health care delivery and while there is a shortages of nurses everywhere, we see nurses, together with medical and other health professionals, leading the fight of the coronavirus.

We are very proud to see UP nurses, student nurses and student midwives stepping up to contribute their knowledge, skills and professional services to help their Cambodian communities in a variety of different roles –on the ICU COVID-19 task force, as volunteers for front line teams and as volunteers for the Pasteur Institute tracking work. We acknowledge and stand proud with them and all nurses and midwives working to fight the coronavirus and keep our communities safe and healthy.

UP students volunteer to fight COVID-19 in Cambodia

On 25 March 2020, the Prime Minister of Cambodia met with over 300 medical doctors who volunteered to help the Ministry of Health in the fight against COVID-19. Mr. Korn Kevutdom, MD Year 7 student, and Mr. Sok Rapon, who completed his 8-year Course of studies in March 2020, also volunteered and offered their services.

We congratulate both of them in showing solidarity to affected patients and in helping the country in these difficult times. They have clearly understood the role and responsibilities of medical professionals.

UPs Methanol identification tests avoiding deaths in Phnom Penh pharmaceutical market

Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is a commonly used organic solvent that, because of its toxicity, can cause metabolic acidosis, mental problems, and even death when ingested. Methanol toxicity remains a common problem in many parts of the developing world, especially among members of lower socioeconomic society.

Although methanol is very useful as a general and laboratory solvent, and in antifreeze (often with ethylene glycol), windscreen washer additives and duplicating fluids, it can often me misused as methanol provides the same buzz as ethanol, but is far more toxic than ethanol, to the point that it can cause severe illness and death.. In adults, death may follow the ingestion of just 20-50 ml of methanol.

Currently, the demand and price of ethanol is greatly increased in Cambodia as ethanol is in great demand as a disinfectant and raw material for producing hand sanitizers. However illegal producers sometimes use methanol as a cheap substitute for ethanol which unfortunately results in deaths. Responding to this issue, UPs pharmacy lecturers and students has developed methanol identification methods following the procedure in WHO basic toxicity analysis. These two tests together are able to identify methanol with the sensitivity of 50 milligrams per litre.

All the ICT courses at UP are now delivered online using Google Meet + Moodle (UPOP), Gitlab, Slack since 16th March 2020: Python Bootcamp, Web static development, Entrepreneurship, Mathematics – statistics, Java framework, Linux administration, Virtualization, Network security, Database concept, Artificial Intelligence, IT Research methodology, DRBC, CCNAx and many more…! Special focus on the Data Science Fundamentals Bootcamp (Master Class) which has started on 21st March 2020!

The bootcamp was prepared in partnership with Dathappy (https://www.dathappy.com/), a Singaporean company specialised in bringing professional Data Science services to all purpose-drive organisations. It consists of 4 intensive week ends of course. The course is being delivered online by Mr. Yoann FOL, now staying in Singapore. Mr. Yoann FOL has 10 years experience in the Data Science field. He studied Sociology combined to Data Science and has worked on the field ever since. Yoann’s first experience was with a Big Data & Analytics consultancy company, whose main missions revolved on Energy consumption, prediction and Churn Analytics for Insurance.

Passionate with knowledge sharing, he was an assistant teacher in University, helping with the understanding of Descriptive Analytics. He then moved to Singapore to become the first Data Scientist of a 30,000 employees manufacturing chemical company having challenges worldwide on the different activities of the group.

Yoann he is the founder of “Dathappy”, a startup facilitating impact-driven Data Science projects and empowering people.

Two dental students return from AHHA scholarship to Australia

Two final year dental students, Sary Saney and Nam Virak, had an opportunity recently to participate in a 2-week exchange program to Australia. They were fully supported by AHHA (Australian Health & Humanitarian Aid) and the Rotary Club of Liverpool West in Sydney, who arranged a full and interesting program. AHHA has been partnering with UP for the past 4 years, the highlight of which is a visit by their Australian dental team to Cambodia for a week where they work closely with UP dental students to treat over 400 disadvantaged children, many of them with special needs.

During the two-week visit Virak and Saney visited the Sydney Dental Hospital, Westmead Dental Hospital, the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Dental Clinic and several of the top private dental clinics in Sydney. They were able to observe both general practice and specialist clinics, learning a lot and seeing how cutting-edge technologies can be used to enhance patient treatment.

They also had many opportunities to learn about the Australian culture, and visited many places of interest in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast. They also toured Sydney by night, joined in an AHHA fund raising BBQ event and AHHA business meeting, and a spoke at a local Rotary Club meeting about their experiences in the exchange program.

Virak and Saney were so grateful to the AHHA team for their wonderful hospitality, and for going out of their way to make the visit an unforgettable experience. They arrived back just in time to sit their final exams.

The Pioneer’s Exchange Visit with Leeds Becket University, UK

A teaching team from the Faculty of Psychological Therapies & Mental Health at Leeds Beckett University recently visited UP. They delivered professional counselling workshops, shared experiences with students and staff and provided consultation on the curriculum for Diploma In Health Counselling at UP.

In February 2020, our first graduate cohort of counselling students (our ‘Pioneers’) had the opportunity to enjoy an exchange visit. The UP team visited England for 10 days, 16th February to 26th February 2020. Leeds Beckett University have been a long-standing provider of professional undergraduate and post graduate education in counselling, psychological therapies and mental health for over 30 years.

The collaborative partnership between UP and Leeds Beckett is very supportive and provides our program at UP with consultation to ensure delivery of a program of international standards. Our Pioneers had a very rich and intense learning experience at Leeds Beckett. They also shared their own learning experiences, challenges and hope for the progression of counselling in Cambodia with the UK students. They joined lectures and counselling skills workshops to enhance their practice.

They were also taken on, and thoroughly enjoyed, a variety of educational cultural experiences. The exchange experience has been very fruitful for their personal and professional growth and this will have a positive ‘ripple’ effect through their lives and professional practice. The Pioneers summed up their wonderful experience by saying “the knowledge gained through the exchange visit was amazing and something we could not find in any textbook”.

UP Nursing staff join workshop on Competency Based Education for technical working group revising nursing curriculum

Cambodia nursing education consists of the theoretical and practical training provided to nurses with the purpose to prepare them for their duties as nursing care professionals. The ministry of health offers an associate degree in Nursing by following curriculum in year 1998.

Curriculum guidelines provide a framework for graduate-degree nursing programs to meet the health care challenge of a new century. On January 16th 2020, the ministry of health with the support from USAID and fhi360 launched a workshop on Competency Based Education for technical working group revising nursing curriculum for Associate Degree of Nursing. This program will be schedule to meet every month.

This program was joined by all universities include University of Puthisastra and regional training centers which offer ADN program with the goal of complete competency based education revision in one year time period. This requires monthly meeting to discuss about curriculum revision process.


UP is preparing the SIMULATION LAB classes for year 3 students next semester. During the SIM labs, students will learn how to do a wide range of basic dental procedures including: tooth extractions, local anesthetic injections, cavity preparations, rubber dam application, taking radiographs, scaling teeth, mouth examinations, polishing, etc. This year we have purchased a new set of 30 models each with soft gums and containing 28 teeth.

Students will be assigned 14 teeth each to work on during the semester, with the models mounted in our 30 Japanese NISSIN mannequins. In addition, we are setting up carry boxes for each pair of students, each containing most of the instruments and materials students will need for the semester.

The core SIM lab team this semester includes Dr Rasy (our restorative dentistry specialist), Dr Sokty, Dr Mengkheng, and Dr Kaing Koung. Others who will be helping in some sessions are Dr Seth Mana (lecturer in oral health assessment), Dr Tak Ranuch (specialist in periodontics), Dr Sam Sovatdy (specialist in OMF surgery), Dr Neak Pheakdey (dental radiography), and Prof. Callum Durward (specialist in pediatric dentistry).

UP keeps producing lower-price handrubs for the public

Starting from the 31st of January, 2020, UP’s Faculty of Pharmacy has produced many thousands of litres of handrub to serve the community following WHO-Recommended Handrub Formulation. Along the way, Pharmacy has modified and upgrading its product formulary regarding the efficacy, safety, and quality.

Particularly, UP has actively kept its handrub price as low as possible to serve the community even though the price of raw materials and packaging has increased rapidly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Unlike may other handrubs, a special feature of UPs handrub is its expensive quality control, to build faith for UP products.

This action is considered as another contribution for Cambodian society against the Covid-19 with the Ministry of Health (MoH), Cambodia. UP expects its qualified products will be affordable and available for Cambodian peoples who are not able to purchase the handrub or hand sanitizer for their personal protection.

Thank you Ms. Borey HING, freshly graduated pharmacist from University of Puthisastra (UP) and Ms. Liya LIM for producing the handrub.

Biography Mr. Daniel Gillard: Head of English

Daniel is the Head of the English Department. He’s 40 years old and has previously worked as an English Lecturer at U.P. He’s from Manchester in England, which is the home of Manchester City and Manchester United Football Clubs!

Daniel has taught English in Cambodia since 2016 and used to live in Sihanoukville where he worked at an English Language school. Before he became an English Lecturer, Daniel worked in local government and social services in England. His hobbies include listening to music and going to concerts, but Daniel also likes to travel when he has the time, especially on his motorbike, all around Cambodia.


This week UP dental clinic has undergone a “face-lift” with painting throughout. We have also changed all the taps. The new taps can be turned on and off with the elbow – reducing the chance of cross infection.

In addition, during the down time, clinic staff have been cleaning from top to bottom, as well as rearranging instruments and supplies, and sorting out thousands of dental records, ready for the return of the students.

Introducing Dr Soeurn Visal, Prosthodontist

Dr Visal is one of our most popular dentists at the UP Dental Clinic. He graduated with a DDS from Cambodia in 2013, then went on to complete an MSc in Prosthodontics at Mahidol University in Thailand.

As well as teaching our undergraduate students prosthodontics, dental materials and occlusion, Dr Visal works at the Royal Phnom Penh Hospital. We always know when Dr Visal is on duty in the UP Dental Clinic, as many students like to bring their denture, crown and bridge patients along on those sessions so that Dr Visal can supervise their treatment. Dr Visal also sees private patients at UP.

Recently Dr Visal joined the teaching team for the UP Diploma in Implantology course, as he is an expert in the restoration of dental implants. UP is very fortunate to have highly qualified specialists like Dr Visal on our staff, for the benefit of our UP students as well as patients.

Community Health Projects of The Department of Laboratory Sciences, University of Puthisastra

Community Health is an important factor in the overall wellbeing of municipalities throughout the country. UP’s Department of Laboratory Sciences, has annually conducted a community project for the Medical Laboratory Technology students. Community work provides the students with the opportunity to learn teamwork experience, Medical Laboratory technical practice and especially applying health knowledge to the community. Additionally, at the time of the projects, charity events were held for sharing study materials to primary school students.

The projects that have been conducted so far:

  • First Community Health Project was about “Parasite Detection” on 11 June 2016 at Dong Village, Dong Commune, Bati District Takeo Province.
  • Second Community Health Project was about “Blood testing for health checkup” on 09 November 2016 at Preak Angkunh Village, Seam Reap Commune, Kandal Steng District Kandal Province.
  • Third Community Health Project was about “The importance of Medical Laboratory Service” on 14 October 2017 at Pong Toeuk Village, Lum Chong Commune, Somrong District, Takeo Province.
  • Fourth Community Health Project was about “Medical Laboratory Technology student and Monastic’s Health” on 22 and 23 November 2019 at Char Village, Roveang Commune, Somrong District, Takeo Province.

A Student Midwife`s Experience of Clinical Practice at a Health Center

Mosa Kafy, Associate Degree in Midwifery, Year 3.

Mosa Kafy, Associate Degree in Midwifery, Year 3.

On my first day of practicum at Health Center, I was so excited but also nervous because it was the first time for me working with pregnant women and delivery in this situation. However, I was happy to be there. All the preceptors were very friendly and gave me a very warm welcome and first impression was that staff were very professional in their care of the clients.

During my practicum, some of the skills I was able to learn and improve on were around antenatal care, immunization and vaccinations for babies and women, dispensing prescribed medications in health center setting, writing health reports, as well as many other skills. This practicum has provided me with new knowledge and the ability to practice new skills, a greater sense of responsibility around the role of the midwife and a greater understanding of the dangers of women in child birth. This has all made me become more empathetic in my role as a midwife.

My best memory of my practicum at health center was having very helpful preceptors who never discriminated against anyone. No matter how busy they were they still made time to teach me new knowledge and skills and keep following up with my learning progress. They always encouraged me to try harder, overcome the struggle, and have the patience to become a good midwife.

Finally, I encourage those who are working to become a midwife to have patience and work hard in learning for both, theory and technical practice. These are the foundations for all midwives and the knowledge and skills will allow you to provide empathetic care for the woman when she is in a vulnerable and maybe scary period of her life. You are there to ensure that all women in your care stay safe.

So please make sure that you have strong technical knowledge and skills as well as skills of how to reassure and calm women. To achieve all this, please keep studying hard. I also hope you will have the enthusiasm needed to learn the skills required from your preceptors when you practice at health center or at any hospital. Always have a positive attitude to the staff as you work together to improve the future health care in Cambodia.

Pharmacognosy Laboratory of Faculty of Pharmacy welcomed the visit of horticulture expert

On the 11th of March, 2020, Dr Chea Sin, Dean of Faculty of Pharmacy welcomed the visit of Dr Srean Pao, Dean of Faculty of Agriculture, University of Battambang, and Prof. Ricky M. Bates, professor of horticulture, Department of Plant Science, Penn State University, USA.

The visit focused on collaboration on future research regarding nutritional and medicinal plants of Cambodia and the visit to UP Herbarium and Pharmacognosy Lab. We hope that this visit will bring more benefits for both parties regarding the research and training collaboration.