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Embedded within the Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the Cambodia-Oxford Medical Research Unit (COMRU) was established in 2006 as a collaboration between MORU and AHC, a non-profit paediatric teaching hospital and clinical training site for Cambodian doctors, nurses, medical students and health workers that provides free, quality healthcare to children. COMRU’s research focuses on the causes and reduction of morbidity and mortality in Cambodian children.

Group photo of Paul Turner and colleagues © 2019 MORU
Antimicrobial resistance: COMRU Director Paul Turner (left) and the COMRU team present study results at the 1st National AMR Conference in Phnom Penh, May 2018.

Research at COMRU is focused around the important causes of morbidity and mortality in Cambodian children. Despite recently graduating to lower middle-income status, Cambodia remains one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia with high rates of neonatal, infant and childhood mortality.

Reflecting the unit’s major research focus on bacterial infection and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), COMRU has a well-equipped diagnostic and research microbiology laboratory onsite at AHC, including facilities for bacterial culture, molecular pathogen identification/characterisation by PCR and whole genome sequencing (WGS), and serological testing. It also carries out research in the community of Siem Reap Province, particularly in the large, rural and very poor district of Sotnikum and the nearby province of Preah Vihear.

Health care worker with a mother and her child© 2019 MORU. Photographer: Paul Turner

COMRU’s Sreymom Pol (right) with a potential COMRU-META study recruit. COMRU-META collected at regular intervals nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs from 100 Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) out-patient children to determine the dynamics of interactions between NP microbiota and to what extent antibiotic treatment and viral infections perturb the microbiota.

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