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Efforts To Contain Drug-Resistant Malaria Near Thai-Cambodian Border Appear To Be Working, Officials Say

A two-year effort aimed at preventing the emergence of drug-resistant malaria near the border between Cambodia and Thailand is showing signs of success, Duong Socheat, head of Cambodia’s National Center for Malaria Control, said on Friday, DPA/Earth Times reports.

So far, 2,448 people have been tested near the town of Pailin, but only two cases of malaria resistant to artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) have been identified, Socheat said, adding that the result was “encouraging.” The six-week program tested people in six of the country’s “most malaria-prone villages,” the news service writes.

“Two years ago the government, the World Health Organization (WHO) and several NGOs combined efforts to tackle the resistant falciparum strain that was discovered in 2007 … The ongoing process to test villagers follows a concerted effort around Pailin against ACT-resistant malaria, that included providing mosquito nets, combating fake drugs and educating people. Nationwide 1,300 villages now have two health workers trained to test for malaria and provide free treatment,” DPA/Earth Times notes. 

Steven Bjorge, a WHO malaria specialist in Phnom Penh, “It looks like we are having success. I am cautiously optimistic.” Socheat said he is hopeful that the government goal of zero malaria deaths by 2020 can be be achieved if the appropriate funding and expertise continues to be provided. Just recently, the U.S. global malaria coordinator “told a conference in Hanoi there were indications that ACT-resistant malaria had emerged in Myanmar and Vietnam” (6/25).

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