Center Releases Report on Malaria Net, Medicine Distribution

By Erik Wasson
Apr 7, 2005

The National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control distributed 124,793 new mosquito nets and produced 106,297 blisters of anti-malaria medicine in 2004, according to the center's annual report released at the end of March.

In 2005, the center plans to distribute 150,000 nets and re-treat 375,000 nets with insect repellent.

Center Director Duong Socheat said Wednesday that the most important new program introduced in 2004 was the Village Malaria Worker
program, which has so far trained 300 village workers to treat the deadly disease.

For years, village health workers have been given a two-day training course on providing correct information about malaria. But starting in 2004, village malaria workers were trained to administer a simple "dipstick" blood test to diagnose malaria and to correctly administer the 3-day artesunate plus melifloquine treatment produced by the center.

"The village health worker is the right hand and the village malaria worker is the left hand," Duong Socheat said.

Duong Socheat said the center will submit a proposal to the Global Fund this week to offer child survival training to village malaria workers, targeting areas that have no access to doctors, nurses or midwives.

"The training will cover diarrhea and acute respiratory infection," he said. "Why shouldn't these workers know about the other diseases? Children will survive malaria and die anyway from [respiratory infection] and diarrhea."

The major issues facing the center in 2005, according to the director, are outreach to private sector health providers, controlling fake malaria
medicine and stemming the tide of government manufactured malaria drugs resold in markets.

A study released last month showed that 80 percent of malaria patients seek treatment from private sector health providers, Duong Socheat said.
As such, health workers in the private sector "need to be trained and need to start reporting their cases to us," he said. He added that the number of malaria cases—101,857 in 2004—reported to the public sector is "completely unreliable" as a measure of the prevalence
of the disease in Cambodia.

The director said that the malaria center has discovered government malaria medicine in the market, an indicator that, as in other health ministry departments, staff members are reselling drugs.

"When we go into the market we see many of the center's drugs for sale," he said, adding that shortages occur "because staff members are taking the drugs to sell."According to the annual report, the center spent $487,377 of the $566,668 allocated to it by the Ministry of Health in 2004. In 2005, the center is budgeted to receive $856,500 from the ministry.

For 2005, the center has received from major donors: $3.18 million from Global Fund, $774,250 from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, and $500,000 from the World Health Organization.