Health officials and workers are concerned about budget shortages for the treatment of tuberculosis in the Kingdom as new data reveals that prevalence of the disease has declined 37 percent from 2002, officials said yesterday.
Will Baxter/Phnom Penh Post
Men infected with tuberculosis sit on beds in the TB ward of the Siem Reap Provincial Referral Hospital in 2010.
Mao Tan Eang, director of the National Centre for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control, said at a workshop in the capital that a national survey revealed that tuberculosis prevalence declined from 269 infected people per 100,000 in 2002, to 170 per 100,000 people in 2011.
“[I] want to express my concern for Cambodia in the next period, even though we have seen the prevalence rate decline,” he said.
“We found that Cambodia will face a budget shortage of between 30 and 40 per cent in 2012 and 2013.”
Mao Tan Eang said that CENAT required an annual budget of about US$20 million and that tuberculosis prevalence in Cambodia remained higher than in Myanmar, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The survey revealed that there were about 40,000 tuberculosis cases resulting in more than 200 deaths last year, compared with 41,000 cases resulting in nearly 300 deaths in 2010.
The survey was conducted from December 2010 to last September and involved more than 37,000 people.
Yadav Rajandra, medical officer for tuberculosis control at the WHO, said yesterday that Cambodia applied to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria last year for funding for a five-year period from 2013, but the fund cancelled the round due to lack of money.
“On the one hand, the program is going so wonderfully well, but the other side of that story is that funds are going down,” he said.
Rajandra said that more than half of tuberculosis patients did not exhibit symptoms and needed to be targeted for diagnosis, including people who come into contact with a tuberculosis case, the elderly, diabetics and people with HIV/AIDS.
“They require a special approach with special technologies,” he said, adding that Cambodia had some technologies, but lacked funding to reach people in remote areas.
Health Minister Mam Bunheng said Cambodia must reach its Millennium Development Goal targets by 2015.
MDG 6 aims in part to reduce tuberculosis prevalence and mortality rates.
WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MARY KOZLOVSKI