Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Leprosy higher than reported



Leprosy higher than reported

Leprosy higher than reported

A total of 2,461 lepers were treated in Cambodia last year, though the true

number of cases could be as high as 10,000, says the National Leprosy Control

Program.

Of the reported cases, 1,644 were new patients while the rest

had been on treatment for some time, according to program director Dr T.Y

Abdulcoyaume, of the Ministry of Health.

Doctors in only a quarter of

Cambodia's communes had been trained to diagnose and treat leprosy under the

program. Cases in other communes were often likely to go unreported.

Last

year's statistics also did not include remote Preah Vihear and Mondulkiri

provinces.

The two provinces were thought to have one of the highest

leprosy rates in the country, along with others like Battambang, Pursat, Banteay

Meanchay, Siem Reap and Kompong Chhnang.

Leprosy was particularly

prevalent in mountainous areas and other places away from rivers, where lack of

water could mean people were less hygienic, helping the spread of the

disease.

Dr Abdulcoyaume said leprosy cases were likely to be 3-4 times

higher than reported. The World Health Organization estimated about 10,000 cases

in Cambodia.

Treating leprosy was relatively easy, he said. Depending on

which type of leprosy a person had, they received a course of two or three drugs

for six months or 24 months.

In most of the country, people could stay at

home to take the treatment.

In Kompong Cham province, however, people who

contracted leprosy tended to go to Troeung village

- site of Cambodia's only leper colony, reported on in the Post's last issue

- for treatment. Many stayed there for life because of the stigma of the

disease.

Meanwhile, a German/French anti-leprosy NGO, called CIOMAL, said

last week it was working to help the residents of Troeung.

CIOMAL's

medical coordinator, Dr Christoph Bendick, said the NGO began distributing rice

and fish to about 100 Troeung residents, those under treatment for leprosy,

three months ago.

The food, supplied by the World Food Program, was being

delivered monthly.

CIOMAL also provided leprosy medication to the

Ministry of Health's central medical store.

CIOMAL, along with the Don

Bosco NGO, had dug a well and provided water jars to Troeung families, and

offered other support on a case-by-case basis.

Handicap International had

also provided funding to produce special shoes for people disabled by

leprosy.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Preah Sihanouk hit with travel ban

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration has announced a temporary travel ban to and from the province, except for ambulances and trucks transporting goods. The announcement came after prime minister Hun Sen called on people in the province to travel only if necessary, and that people not

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese