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Dengue fever menace tamed

Dengue fever menace tamed

M AJOR childhood killer dengue hemorrhagic fever(DHF) is now being successfully treated by the National Pediatric Hospital (NPH), according to hospital director Dr Chhour Y Meng.

Dr Meng said no deaths were recorded amongst the 165 DHF cases admitted to the hospital during the first six months of the year.

He said this was a major success as DHF along with diarrhea and respiratory infections cause 60-70 percent of childhood deaths in Cambodia.

Dr Meng said the mortality rate for patients admitted to the hospital with DHF reached its highest in 1986-87 running at about 8.7 percent.

He said the mortality rate had been gradually falling since and that there were two factors contributing to the hospital's better treatment of the illness.

"First, parents became more aware and realized the danger, so they reported their children to the hospital before the disease could worsen.

"Second, our medical personnel made the right diagnosis of the cases and provided proper treatment to the patients," Dr Meng said.

He added that the NPH had also improved its treatment of diarrhea cases by using more oral rehydration therapy instead of serum injections to rehydrate patients.

A new medical training center has been added to the NPH and was inaugurated at a ceremony on Sep 12. The training center is equipped with a 200-seat conference room, three 30-seat lecture halls, one library and one ward for the treatment of diarrhea.

The construction of the one-story concrete building cost $270,000 and was funded by USAID, according to a US Embassy press release.

Dr Meng said the center would allow Cambodian doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical students throughout the country to attend free workshops and training courses to improve their capability in coping with childhood diseases.

In his address at the ceremony First Premier Norodom Ranariddh said: "As we all know the very future of our country lies with our children.

"It is of crucial importance that we give them the care which they deserve, especially in the areas of health and education."

He stressed that the quality of health care in Cambodia could be significantly improved with the provision of appropriate training and supplies.

US Ambassador Charles Twining said the medical training provided at the center would improve health care and bring development to the country, and therefore peace as well.

The project was implemented by World Vision International (WVI) which has received $2.3 million from USAID in the last six years to help Cambodia's health institutions fight against "killer" diseases, according to the embassy release.

Vice-president of WVI in the Asia-Pacific Region Watt Santatiwatt said: "The primary purpose of this project is to improve the quality and availability of curative and preventative health services to children and mothers."

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