National Malaria Center Readies Launch of New Web Site

By Brian Calvert

The Cambodia Daily

Cambodia's National Malaria Center is ready to head onto the information superhighway with the establishment of a new Web site that will include such features as constantly updated information on malaria and dengue outbreaks.

We have to update all the time, said Duong Socheat, director of the National Malaria Center, as he proudly displayed the Web site, complete with photos of the founding of the center. Working with the Ministry of Health, the center is required to develop programs and research of Cambodia's mosquito-borne diseases.

Malaria and dengue are both monitored by the center. Now information from a malaria research trip to remote provinces, or distribution of treated water to fight disease in Phnom Penh, will be posted online and made available to researchers throughout the world.

Even more important, according to Duong Socheat , is making the information available to regional neighbors. Some of Cambodia's programs are considered groundbreaking, especially when it comes to malaria prevention and treatment.

The National Malaria Center, with support from the World Health Organization and funds from many donors, has developed unique combination treatments that combat drug-resistant malaria varieties. Blister packs that combine two effective drugs are packaged so that the proper dose can be taken at the proper times, thereby decreasing the likelihood of encouraging resistant malaria varieties. Health officials are currently working on finding a way to put that same treatment into a formula for young children.

Just last month, the center started a pilot program aimed at getting hammock mosquito nets to transient workers who rely on the forests for their livelihoods. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes in Cambodia require shade for reproduction. Cambodia's forests put people at risk if they leave their family mosquito nets at home.

All these programs spearheaded by the center will be displayed on the new Web site, along with links to other organizations that combat malaria. There will also be an up-to-date list of announcements.

For example, a new set of field test kits that diagnose malaria on dipsticks will be arriving soon. Ministry of Health officials currently use test kits that can detect p falciparum, the deadly variety of malaria. The new dipsticks can also test for the vivax variety, which is not deadly by itself, according to the Web site.

The site now resides at a CamNet address, but will soon move to an address at www.cnm.gov.kh, Duong Socheat said.