AIDS in Cambodia – In 2002, thousands of people fell victim to the AIDS pandemic that hit the country and caused a huge loss of life. Parents who succumbed to the disease – it is reported that up to 250,000 people died of AIDS-related diseases during this period – were left with orphans, many of whom were infected at birth and died on the streets without any medical help. There was no medical aid in the country, international organizations such as Doctors Without Borders or Doctors of the World gradually started treating adults, while others just watched. The dysfunctional health system and the extreme poverty of the families from which the children came did not allow them to take care of them. Infected children, so-called “second wave”, there was no one to provide the necessary treatment and care.
Martin Bandžák and Denisa Augustínová became eyewitnesses of this tragedy. Pragmatically and with great commitment, they began to solve the situation and opened a facility for the treatment of infected children in the capital, Phnom Penh. They provided them with antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, which saved many lives. They called teams of medical professionals from Slovakia to the country, trained local doctors and involved them in the work. In a few months, MAGNA started treating its first patient and became one of the first organizations to start treating HIV/AIDS children.