Provincial Malaria Fighters Gear Up for Annual Assessment
November 29, 2001
By Brian Calvert
The Cambodia Daily
From Tuesday to Dec 6, malaria experts, researchers and
doctors from the 16 provinces with malaria epidemics will meet to discuss plans
and assess last years progress, said Roberto Garcia, co-director of the ECs
malaria project. Anything from the procurement of more motorbikes for checkups
in remote regions to the distribution of more information to villagers can be
discussed by each of the provincial health directors, Garcia said.
The distribution of bednets, hammock nets, insecticide
and proper, easy-to-use medication are all used to fight the disease.
But each province faces its own problems in the battle
against malaria in Cambodia, where the movement of refugees into stricken areas,
a resistance to drugs and inaccessibility to remote regions can all be
To respond to that, Garcia said, much of the upcoming
meeting will be dedicated to breaking up into four groups of four provinces in
order to closely examine the strategies needed to fight malaria. They will go
really deep into the planning, Garcia said.
The EC has had an anti-malaria program in Cambodia
since 1997. Pilot projects and general strategies were hammered out by 2000, so
this year and 2002 are expected to see accelerated success rates against
malaria. 2001 has already been a good year, Garcia said.
Part of that success comes from programs using a
cohesive strategy designed by the Ministry of Health and the National Malaria
Center. The World Health Organization also provides support, but it is the EC
that concentrates on getting technical, logistical and monetary assistance to
[The EC] are more decentralized, said Dr Stefan Hoyer,
the WHO adviser to the National Malaria Center.
Though all figures have not come in from the provinces,
Cambodia has seen a general decrease in reported malaria cases, said Dr Tol
Bunthea, a researcher at the National Malaria Center.
Programs from the WHO and the EC dovetail, but they all follow the same national plan, which is important when working in developing countries, Garcia said. The point is really to work together, he said.
The EC spends $4.85 million on malaria prevention in
Cambodia each year, with other money coming from the WHO, Australia, the US and
others. That has helped develop successful programs against malaria, Garcia