At the 50th anniversary of the discovery of artemisinins at the International Cooperation Forum to Build a Community of Common Health for Mankind on April 25, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia will continue cooperating with all stakeholders, especially China, to eradicate malaria.

Hun Sen voiced support for all activities and cooperation towards building a community of common health for mankind – especially the eradication of malaria through the use of artemisinins, as Cambodia celebrates zero malaria deaths in four years.

“To achieve our goals, we will continue to strengthen cooperation with all actors, especially China, through the Belt and Road Initiative [BRI], Mekong-Lancang Cooperation [MLC] and the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund to completely eradicate malaria,” he said.

He added that Cambodia recorded more than 170,000 cases and nearly 1,000 deaths in the 1980s. But in 2021, the number of cases had dropped to 3,959. There have been no deaths in the last four years, despite the hardships caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

He said this splendid achievement resulted from of the implementation of the National Strategic Plan for Elimination of Malaria (2011-2025), which included rapid diagnosis and treatment with artemisinins – to avert strains developing resistance to the medicine – and prevention of the spread of malaria through increased use of mosquito nets and public health education.

The effectiveness of the strategy’s implementation was linked to a ‘soft’ approach and the flexibility to incorporate global and regional strategies, as well as learnt, shared experience, he added.

“I call on all stakeholders to continue to promote cooperation based on trust and the spirit of partnership, using the people as its core to achieve the global vision of being malaria-free by 2025,” Hun Sen said.

Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang said on National Malaria Day – marked on April 24 under the theme “Together to implement the new normal to reduce the global malaria disease burden to improve well-being” – that malaria cases have been on the decline across Kampong Speu in recent years.

He said that in the province, malaria cases have dropped around 55 per cent each year since 2019. The year 2019 saw 5,534 malaria cases, with 2,469 recorded in 2020 and 1,221 in 2021. In particular, he noted, cases of subtertian fever and mixed malaria had dropped around 70 per cent every year.

He said that in the first three months of 2022, there were just 199 cases, of which 27 were identified as subtertian fever or mixed malaria. Recurrence was responsible for 172 of the cases.