Malaria Cases Reported In Cambodian Public Facilities Drop More Than 50%

There was more than a 50 percent drop in the total number of malaria cases reported by public facilities in Cambodia between 2003 and 2008, according to the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control’s annual report, which was released on Tuesday, the Phnom Penh Post reports. Officials are attributing the decrease to village-based treatment and education programs.

Malaria cases reported at public hospitals decreased from 132,571 cases in 2003 to 58,887 cases in 2008, according to the report. There were 209 malaria-related deaths last year, down slightly from 241 deaths in 2007. Statistics from 2008 showed that villages with malaria workers – which tend to be in remote areas where malaria is endemic – saw a “sharp decline” in the number of confirmed malaria deaths, the newspaper reports. “In 2004, there were 33 confirmed deaths in villages with malaria workers, but by last year, there were only five, despite the fact that the number of cases tested more than tripled,” writes the Phnom Penh Post. These village-based programs have expanded in 2009 due to funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to the newspaper.

Michael O’Leary, the WHO’s country representative, said, “I am really interested in this achievement… which is a really big accomplishment in fighting malaria.” In addition, the report showed the number of people who knew about malaria prevention and transmission increased from 42 percent in 2004 to 72 percent in 2007. However, “behaviour does not seem to be keeping pace with knowledge,” according to the report, which said the number of people seeking the correct treatment within 48 hours of showing symptoms increased only slightly (Leakhana/Shay, Phnom Penh Post, 6/24).