PRIME Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia needs to speed up efforts to reduce the morbidity and mortality rates of tuberculosis patients, as the Kingdom still had a high number of both compared to the rest of the world.

Hun Sen’s speech came through a letter on Monday, during the celebration of World Tuberculosis Day under the theme, Time to speed up, and end Tuberculosis.

He said the Kingdom has achieved its goal in lowering morbidity and mortality rates of tuberculosis over the previous four years while noting it is something to be proud of.

“Even though we have had this success, I also understand that our Kingdom has many cases of tuberculosis compared to other countries and there are many people who are still waiting for treatment.

“This requires us to speed up our efforts to further reduce the number infected by tuberculosis, which is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the world,” he said.

According to him, the morbidity and mortality rates of tuberculosis in Cambodia has dropped significantly more than in other countries.

The mortality rate had decreased from 42 cases of out of 100,000 patients a year in 2000 to only 18 cases in the same number of patients in 2018 (equal to 57 per cent). The number of infected dropped from 575 cases in 2000 to 302 cases in 2018 (or about 47 per cent).

“We all need to continue to work together and further focus on tuberculosis problems, as we try to improve health, quality of life and the dignity of our people,” Hun Sen said.

A 2018 report by the Ministry of Health said the National Tuberculosis Control Programme maintains 100 per cent coverage of Directly Observed Treatment Services (DOTS) in all referral hospitals, health centres and health posts throughout the Kingdom, and has a network of 217 tuberculosis laboratories.

The report also said 644 health centres implemented community-based DOTS, while the implementation of tuberculosis-AIDS activities was available in all operational districts.

The same report mentioned that Cambodia remains one of the top 30 countries in the world for the number of tuberculosis cases reported.

The National Tuberculosis Control Programme has planned numerous programmes for the future, especially to contribute to health targets by the end of 2020 as well as achieving sustainable development goals by 2030.