Web Site Lists Cambodia Diseases, Agencies Fighting Them

Agust 8, 2002
By Michelle Vachon
The Cambodia Daily

Keeping track of organizations and their programs is no simple task in Cambodia, considering the hundreds of institutions and NGOs that operate here.

The National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control has created a Web site that not only talks about the scope of diseases it fights, but also contains an exhaustive list of NGOs, government and international agencies involved in that health sector.

Big and small contributors and their programs are mentioned: The World Health Organization, which provides technical assistance and has funded research on malaria in Banteay Meanchey province and on bed-net insecticide in Koh Kong and Kampot provinces; the European Commission, which supports a malaria project in the 16 high-risk provinces; the malaria control activities of Health Unlimited in Ratanakkiri province, of Partners for Development in Kratie province, and of Youth with a Mission in Stung Treng province.

The list also mentions Caritas building health posts in Siem Reap province, the Swiss Red Cross treating severe malaria cases at the Takeo provincial hospital and The Cambodia Daily's mosquito-net fund drive.

The Web site is meant to help the information exchange among countries facing similar health problems, and among researchers and field workers here and abroad, said Dr Doung Socheat, director of the National Malaria Center. The site also may interest people who want to know about diseases transmitted by mosquitoes or parasites in the country, he said. No section targets Cambodian health workers because most don't have Internet access.

The site, whose address is www.cnm.gov.kh, gives an overview on the importance of diseases for which the center coordinates programs in cooperation with partner organizations. These are malaria and dengue fever, both transmitted by mosquitoes; schistosomiasis, which especially affects people from Kratie and Stung Treng provinces and is caused by Mekong River parasites; the tropical disease filariasis caused by worms in lymph vessels; and other intestinal infections due to parasites.

The report on malaria mentions that the number of cases have gone down by nearly half since 1997, going from 16.2 cases per 1,000 people in five years ago to 9.6 cases last year. Fatal cases also decreased by half, from 16.95 percent per 1,000 patients in 1996, to 8.7 percent in 2001, the report said. However, it added, with 476 deaths from malaria last year, Cambodia still has the highest fatality rate in the region.

Those most at risk, "are the ethnic minorities, temporary migrants, settlers in forested area, plantation workers and others who live in the country's hilly forested environments and forest fringe along the border areas of Laos, Thailand and Vietnam," the report said.

The Web site is prepared by the staff of the National Malaria Center with the assistance of malaria consultants, Doung Socheat said.