The Ministry of Health has issued a directive informing all stakeholders to pay close attention to the control of imported malaria cases, in order to prevent the transmission and recurrence of the disease.

Former health minister Mam Bun Heng signed the August 21 instructions, noting that since 2018, malaria cases have decreased significantly, with no deaths.

The ministry has achieved the key goals laid out in its National Strategic Plan for the Malaria Elimination in Cambodia 2011-25, which has three years remaining.

“The ministry advises all stakeholders to pay close attention to the control of imported cases, in order to prevent the spread of new strains, particularly those that are resistant to medication,” said the directive.

The notice also outlined guidelines on the control of malaria cases from other countries.

“Please carry out malaria screening, and if necessary treatment, to all arrivals who are entering Cambodia from any areas with current malaria outbreaks, or a high risk of the disease,” it said.

The Cambodian National Malaria Control Programme reported that in 2021, Cambodia recorded 4,279 cases, a 54 per cent decrease on 2020, when 9,234 cases were logged.

The report added that since the 1980s, more than 170,000 cases had been recorded, with almost 1,000 deaths. Since 2018, no fatal cases have occurred, meaning Cambodia achieved its 2020 target a full two years early.

The year 2021 saw 320 cases of Plasmodium falciparum malaria, a 65 per cent reduction over the previous year. Plasmodium vivax malaria cases fell 52 per cent in the same period, from 8,298 to 3,959.

Former Prime Minister Hun Sen noted some time ago that although the fight against malaria has been highly effective, the malaria elimination action plan phase II 2021-25 – which is part of the national elimination plan – needs to be followed, if the disease is to be eradicated from the Kingdom for good.