Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom marks World TB Day, reflects on successes

Kingdom marks World TB Day, reflects on successes

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Deliverymen ride past the National Centre for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control (CENAT) in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district. Heng Chivoan

Kingdom marks World TB Day, reflects on successes

Prime Minister Hun Sen celebrated the low rates of illness and death from tuberculosis (TB) in Cambodia. The Kingdom’s statistics are now lower than many other countries, with the death rate dropping from 42 per 100,000 people in 2000 to just 20 in 2020, indicating a drop of 52 per cent.

According to a letter released by the premier to mark World TB day, the rate of new cases (incidence) dropped from 579 cases per 100,000 people in 2000 to 274 in 2020, a drop of 53 per cent. World TB day is observed on March 24, with this year’s theme being “Invest to End TB, Save Lives”.

The purpose of celebrating this day is to promote public health and raise awareness of the fight against TB by helping people learn about the scale of the problem and the consequences of TB. This aims to promote social welfare – as well as the value and dignity of society as a whole, his letter said.

Hun Sen said Cambodia achieved its Millennium Development Goals – in relation to reducing the rates of illness and death from TB – four years ahead of schedule. Cambodia’s achievement in reducing TB cases was a remarkable feat few countries could match, he said.

“Despite our success, I understand that there are still some cases occurring in the Kingdom and some people who have not received treatment. One case is one too many, and efforts must be stepped up to further reduce the rates of TB,” he said.

He added that Cambodia should be proud of its achievements in the fight against TB over the past few years. Twenty years ago, Cambodia had one of the highest TB incidence rates in the world. But in a short time, the Kingdom has become a model country – the envy of the world for its effective control of the disease. Its remarkable achievement is the result of joint efforts by the government to expand TB checks and treatment services into all referral hospitals and health centres across the country.

“We have worked together to ensure that any person suspected of catching it receives timely medical intervention and treatment. In the future, I am confident we will see a world free from TB,” he said.

A TB patient who asked not to be named and has been taking medication for six months said she wanted to be cured, as the symptoms of the infection were terrible. She had struggled with the side effects of the meds, but persisted in taking them.

“I have to take medicine to cure my TB. I am following medical advice, and hope to be free of this disease soon,” she said.

It is estimated that around 10 million people in the world develop TB each year; about three million of them do not have access to care and treatment. About 1.4 million people a year lose their lives to it.

The National Centre for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control (CENAT) said the National TB Programme covers 100 per cent of its services in all referral hospitals and health centres across the country. The programme has expanded – it 2008, treatment was available in 506 health centres, but by 2021, a total of 1,147 centres could treat it.

CENAT director Huot Chan Yuda said TB was a 100 per cent treatable disease and he called for non-discrimination against TB patients as it could increase the risk of them not seeking treatment and follow-up care. All treatment for TB is free of charge, he noted.


  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Famed US collector family return artefacts to Cambodia

    In the latest repatriation of ancient artefacts from the US, a total of 33 pieces of Khmer cultural heritage will soon return home, according to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. In a September 12 press statement, it said the US Attorney’s Office for the

  • Tina rebuffs ‘false claims’ over falling paddy price

    Agriculture minister Dith Tina has shed light on the trade of paddy rice in Battambang – Cambodia’s leading rice-producing province – in a bid to curb what he dubs a “social media fact distortion campaign” to destabilise the market. While acknowledging that the prices of paddy

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • Kampot curfew imposed to curb ‘gang’ violence

    Kampot provincial police have announced measures to contain a recent spike in antisocial behaviour by “unruly’ youth. Officials say the province has been plagued by recent violence among so-called “gang members”, who often fight with weapons such as knives and machetes. Several social observers have

  • PM outlines plans to discuss trade, policy during US visit

    Prime Minister Hun Manet is set to meet with senior US officials and business leaders during his upcoming visit to the US for the UN General Assembly (UNGA), scheduled for September 20. While addressing nearly 20,000 workers in Kampong Speu province, Manet said he aims to affirm