Despite the number of malaria-related deaths dropping by nearly 60 percent since
1999, malaria remains one of the top three health concerns facing Cambodia,
according to the government.
Along with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis,
malaria is a priority for the government, said Dr Kheng Sim, chief of technical
office at the National Malaria Center of the Ministry of
"However, Cambodia now is much better compared to the past five
years - about 891 people died in 1999, and [that is] down to 382 in 2004," Sim
The number of Cambodian people dying from malaria is greater than
in neighboring countries, and Sim attributes the high fatality rate to people
buying medicines from the market without first consulting a doctor.
also cited transportation problems and poverty as obstacles preventing timely
access to health centers.
Working with the Ministry of Health, the World
Bank in 2003 began a five-year health sector support project aimed at combatting
malaria, dengue fever, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. By the time the project is
completed, the World Bank will have contributed about $2.2 million toward
fighting the deadly disease.
Cambodia has three kinds of malaria:
plasmodium falciparum (accounting for 80 percent of cases), plasmodium vivax (18
percent) and the two combined.
Every two years the National Malaria
Center studies the effectiveness of medicines used to treat malaria in Cambodia,
In 2000, the center changed from using artesunate as the sole
treatment for plasmodium falciparum parasites and began mixing it with
metroquine. For plasmodium vivax, a drug called chloroquine is
The mixed drug treatment, known locally as Malarine, is
distributed by Population Service International (PSI), also known for their
distribution of Number One and OK condoms.
Malarine is available
throughout Cambodia. A three-day prescription costs 2,500 riel.
National Malaria Center also works with government bodies and NGOs to distribute
mosquito nets across Cambodia.