CAMBODIAN efforts to contain the spread of malaria have been strengthened by a pilot project using text messaging and web-based technology. A total of 184 village malaria workers have been trained in three provinces – Kampot, Siem Reap and Kampong Cham – since the project launch earlier this year. The volunteers receive three days of training in the early diagnosis of malaria and treatment.
In addition, they are given a bicycle, a pair of boots, a bag, a flashlight and a cooler box for medicines, as well as a small travel allowance. Under the pilot scheme now under way, they are also given mobile phones, allowing them to immediately report all malaria cases in their villages to the Malaria Information and Alert System in Phnom Penh with a simple text message, including the patient’s name, age, location and type of parasite.
That information is then disseminated to local, district and provincial health offices, with coordinates mapped on the country’s national malaria database using Google Earth.
Mobitel provides free SIM cards and free SMSs. “Without doubt, this is an important tool to quickly identify malaria cases and respond effectively,” explained Pengby Ngor, data manager for the Malaria Consortium, which National Malaria Control Centre.